The Pharmacy is back! Sort of. Over a year ago, the poppy, sloppy, fun punk-rock band left their longtime Pacific Northwest home for the greener pastures (and tasty beignets) of New Orleans. The quartet has returned to begin a post-Thanksgiving West Coast tour to promote their new CD.
It's not a surprise that on their new record, Weekend, the band continues to move even further away from their basement-punk beginnings, experimenting with a more mellow, sometimes psychedelic sound laced with sweet harmonies by way of 1960s doo-wop.
The album opens with "Coldest Morning Light," a fuzzy, lo-fi song that makes me think of the Doors, if the Doors weren't so annoyingly cocky—it even has an organ solo. Both "Wait in Vayne" and "Pearl" are brighter, more playful, while "WAYDWYL" nods to the band's faster, more frenzied roots.
And on some of Weekend's tracks, it sounds like some of New Orleans' rich musical history has started to seep into their bones—"Interlude" starts as a mess of harp and piano, but it soon falls into place as a slow, haunting instrumental march that, like the city of New Orleans itself, is both beautiful and full of sad ghosts.
Weekend concludes with "It's Over," a fitting last track that is a cute and rueful song looking back at mistakes made, while accepting, once again, that one is the loneliest number. It's the strongest, most consistent record the band has ever made. And to celebrate, the Pharmacy will play an all-ages CD-release show on Friday, December 4, at Healthy Times Fun Club with bbddm, Herr Jazz, and Naomi Punk.
Welcome back, boys. (I hope you brought enough beignets for everyone.)
Fri Dec 4: Eyehategod, Samothrace, Akimbo, Lesbian, Grey at El Corazón, 8 pm, $20 adv/$23 DOS.
Sat Dec 5: Jared Sletager Memorial Benefit: Stres, Navigator vs. Navigator, Happy Birthday Secret Weapon at Black Lodge, 8 pm, $5.
Tues Dec 8: Bastard Noise, Iron Lung, Same-Sex Dictator, Requin at Vera Project, 7:30 pm, $10/$11.