Photo by Chris WagnerThe White Liars Pharmacia
24 Carrot Records
Several months ago, Barry Stevenson of the White Liars (perhaps the greatest rock & roll band in Stanton history) sent us a copy of his band's new CD, Pharmacia. And lord, we wanted to like it, we truly did. We liked the White Liars' previous album, and wrote some nice things about it, saying it was pleasingly Sabbathesque and that it made us want to commit wanton acts of senseless violence and stuff—in a good way. Years later, though, we're older, smarter and less patient. What sounded fabulously nostalgic at 31 just seems bland and pathetic at 35. Put it another way: when we were 12 and saw Airplane!, it was far and away the funniest thing we'd ever seen in our lives. But now when we catch it on cable, we wonder what the fuck we were thinking. Then we remember: we were 12! The White Liars are like the Airplane! of local rock then, plying the same heavy, pseudo-metal, guitar-wank shtick they've always done. Pharmacia is loaded with turgid vocals, histrionic guitar solos, plodding rhythms, dreadful song titles—really, here's one: "Lonesome Dread"—and an overall aroma replicating something close to moldy cheese in a furry armpit. That doesn't mean you won't love it, but we've long since moved on. So, while Barry is a nice guy and has a link to the awesome Noam Chomsky archives on his band's website and writes us funny letters begging for ink ("Our drummer has tattoos on his head!")—he even thanked us in the liner notes for sticking a White Liars song on one of our OC Weekly comp CDs—we gotta be honest with ourselves. As Jon Stewart said of The Matrix Revolutions, Pharmacia . . .bloooooooows. But really, what does our shitty opinion mean, anyway? We hope Barry and the White Liars all get rich and fat, even if we can't get into their new tunes. Maybe next time. We even hope Barry uses all the positive words in this review, like "nice" and "good" and "smart" and "awesome" and "pleasingly Sabbathesque," and constructs a glowing blurb for the White Liars band bio. We don't care! No, really, we don't.
OC and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.