March 29, 2011

Lecherous Gaze – Lecherous Gaze EP

Lecherous Gaze
Lecherous Gaze EP
Tee Pee; 2011

Bridging the gap between ’60s garage, ‘70s hard rock, and ‘90s grunge, stoner rock finds a way to feature pummeling, chugging power chords and thick, wah-pedal-loving guitar licks without dipping too heavily into the posturing of metal or prog. There’s something in the working-class, blue-collar vibes projected by genre that I find really appealing. The music made by bands like The Warlocks conjures up in my mind images of buddies hanging out and jamming for hours on end, but who simply aspire to play their favorite dive bars (instead of touring humongous arenas).

The four men of Lecherous Gaze come from these roots, and their self-titled debut EP pays proper homage to the source material created by similar groups also hailing from San Francisco. These four driving tunes are packed with energy and heart, as tough gallops from the rhythm section combine with gruff vocals and dueling sets of guitar chops to maximum effect. The band readily employs the customary flourishes of the genre, but never allow things to become stale or flaccid, thanks to solid arrangements and pacing. It helps that there are only four songs here, and that only one of them stretches beyond four minutes in length.

As if ready-made for a contemporary remake of Easy Rider, the Lecherous Gaze EP comes across as vintage blues-rock mixed with the fervor of punk, without ever sounding anachronistic. The guitar textures are strong, appropriately gritty, and classic in orientation, while the gravelly baritone of Lakis Panagiotopulos comes across as a earnest bellow, while never appearing pained or angry. With “Phaze” as a superb opener and “R ‘n’ R Lust” as an energetic closer, this robust little album compels me to press play every time it ends, and definitely leaves me wanting to hear more from Lecherous Gaze.

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