Ironically hailing from the land of delicacy (France), the unrefined band The Socks may initially convey the impression of pouncing on a recent trend of pillaging the vintage 70’s sound. Though far from a musical cosplay, The Socks implement their own spice blend of doom rock influences in the LSD laced gumbo. When the first track “Lords of Illusion” from their self-titled release begins with callous bass thumps (Vincent Melay), murky visions of Sabbath and Deep Purple emerge. Julien Meret’s (lead vocals and guitar) bellows in gargled Ozzy fashion as each vivacious guitar solo segments the barren shadows. A few jabs of keyboards from Nicolas Baud livens up the already vibrant atmosphere to the song’s climatic end. From the beginning track you can comprehend what sets The Socks apart from its competition is not a radical influx of creativity but their dexterous execution of the seasoned formula.
Meret’s grunts trigger the start of “Some Kind of Sorcery” as the rhythmic upheaval by drummer Jessy Ensenat channels the frantic yet precise jam. The Socks love a good breakdown as the song melds into an acid groove as a singular sludgy guitar riff laments under a sheath of haunting keyboard to solidify the track’s altered state. “New Kings” begins as a driving, frenzied rhythm but intermittently transcends into multiple prospective psychedelic breakdowns accompanied by stinging bass and effect laden guitar solos. The final track “The Last Dragon” and its pulsing chord structure depicts The Socks’ unique rendition of pseudo stoner blues. Baud’s eerie backdrop of keyboard sprawls takes prominence that gives this judgment day jam a hint of introspective romanticism.
While not a stunner track by track, The Socks’ self titled record is an inspired effort and a noteworthy release in a very ambitious nostalgic genre. The production values are on point, effectively highlighting each vital instrument within the surreal abyss, which only compliments the well crafted songwriting on display. The Detroit based Small Stone Records took on all the risk with choosing a foreign band like The Socks in a daunting domestic market; though upon hearing this record, it seems like their selectiveness may reward them after all.