After reading too many shitty reviews that included summations like "band X screwing band Y on Z kind of drugs," I swore off comparing bands to more-famous bands. It's like quitting cigarettes, however. With a little willpower, I can produce more-creative descriptions. But sometimes, as when I'm listening to the Freeways' debut, I buckle under the anxiety and dock their score for inhabiting the sonic coke den of established psych-rock outfits who are themselves unapologetic late-'60s throwbacks. It's as if they'd invited themselves to a party that fizzled out hours ago but had brought excellent metaphorical hash to share with anyone who's still awake. Considering what the local quartet accomplish within the Black Rebel Jonestown Massacre template on their first try, we can expect superior material down the line. On "Country," co-vocalist Karen Zanes summons the ghost of Nico and teaches it to quit being so deadpan. There's a pleasant aroma of menace detectable in the muddy garage haze of "Love Is a Sick Thing," and the up-tempo spin on the Warlocks' "Shake the Dope Out" trumps the original. Which means the Freeways have got off to a better start than the Warlocks did.
THE FREEWAYS + STREIGHT ANGULAR | RED QUIET | THE SINBUSTERS + RADIO CONTROL | Middle East upstairs, 472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | July 7 | 18+ | $10 | 617.864.EAST or mideastclub.com