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The Dandy Warhols - Earth To The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols, Earth To The Dandy Warhols

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THE sixth album from The Dandy Warhols is a crushing disappointment (by their high standards). Whereas previous LP Odditorium Or Warlords of Mars came with an odd title, Earth To The Dandy Warhols arrives with some rather curious music selections.

At several points, the album loses its way amid self-indulgent rock-outs, some of which is so psychedelic and hazy that it’s impossible to tell what’s really going on (vocally or even instrumentally). Rather like jazz, songs begin brightly but frequently have the habit of meandering into nothingness.

What’s more, the LP lacks a genuinely killer track like Bohemian Like You, Every Day Should Be A Holiday or We Used To Be Friends – a song that could ignite the album’s fortunes and send it into the stratosphere.

There are some good tracks, but you have to wait for them and there’s an awful lot of self-indulgent filler to wade through.

The opening songs, in particular, set the tone for the disppointment that follows. Opener The World The People Together (Come On) kicks off with some distinct Dandy guitar riffs and feels like an appropriately rocky party starter, but you kind of have to strain to hear what Courtney Taylor-Taylor has to say. And he seems to feel he’s providing the vocals for a 70s disco number. It’s an odd mix.

Mission Control, meanwhile, finds Taylor-Taylor adopting a new style of vocal approach – deep-throated and menacing, but it tends to bugger up the overall effect, while the electronic backdrop isn’t as convincing as it was in the Welcome To The Monkey House era.

Welcome To The Third World cuts a funky disco strut across the dancefloor but sounds more Roxy Music/Talking Heads and ’80s Duran Duran than Dandy Warhols, and has to rate as another disappointment (Taylor-Taylor, again, sounds odd vocally). While Wasp In The Lotus is just annoying and far too hazy. The opening guitars suggest a level of excitement the remainder of the track just can’t reach and it does go on and on.

Indeed, it’s not until And Then I Dreamt Of Yes that the album really delivers its first properly decent song. It’s lazy, hazy and contains another half-way irritating vocal performance from Taylor-Taylor, but somehow has a wonderfully stoned quality that makes it easy to kick back and enjoy.

Talk Radio is OK, before another favourite arrives in the form of Love Song – a rare pocket of joy that’s shot through with some lovely supplimentary guitar work from guests Mark Knopfler and The Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell. It’s vaguely country, vaguely banjo-laced but totally feel-good and, quite possibly, the pick of the album.

Now You Love Me is a foot-stomper that builds to a rousing chorus (and I remember it going down well at the band’s recent Shepherd’s Bush gig), while they’re clearly having fun with the campy Mis Amigos, which really cranks the party vibe up and almost makes you forget a lot of the disappointment that’s come before. It’s another highlight.

But The Legend Of The Last Of The Outlaw Truckers aka The Ballad of Sheriff Shorty is another disappointment that finds Taylor-Taylor again adopting an ill-advised vocal style more reminiscent of Nick Cave. The backing instrumentals aren’t bad, and reminiscent of very early Dandy Warhols, but they’re not really enough to save the track.

While Beast Of All Saints and Valerie Yum draw the album to a close in distinctly underwhelming psych-rock fashion, before Musee D’Nougat ends things in vaguely spaced out electronic mode – but seems to last forever without really doing anything.

Don’t get us wrong, we continue to be fans of The Dandy Warhols (hence, our rush to see them when they last played London), but with Earth To The Dandy Warhols they appear to have temporarily lost their way. You can count the really worthwhile tracks on the fingers of one hand, and that’s not a good thing.

Download picks: And Then I Dreamt of Yes, Love Song, Now You Love Me, Mis Amigos

Track listing:

  1. World the People Together (Come On)
  2. Mission Control
  3. Welcome to the Third World
  4. Wasp in the Lotus
  5. And Then I Dreamt of Yes
  6. Talk Radio
  7. Love Song
  8. Now You Love Me
  9. Mis Amigos
  10. Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Truckers aka the Ballad of Sheriff Sho
  11. Beast of All Saints
  12. Valerie Yum
  13. Musee d’ Nougat