The Dandy Warhols - Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia Deluxe Edition (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
FOR many The Dandy Warhols reached the pinnacle of their career with Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia. Listening to the 13th anniversary edition of the LP, which has been remastered and expanded to mark the occasion, it’s easy to see why.
This is one great LP. Boasting classic cuts such as Bohemian Like You (which Rolling Stone magazine praised for having “the most muscular Stones guitar riff of the last 20 years”), Get Off, Godless and Cool Scene, the hits just keep on flowing. And the songs have a timeless quality.
Recorded between December 1998 and March 1999, the band’s mission statement – in the words of enigmatic front-man Courtney Taylor-Taylor – was “to make the last classic rock album… a record that would be, sonically, shaped somewhere in-between “.
But while rock enthusiasts may well argue there have been great rock albums since (and there have been), there’s no denying that this is steeped in classic values and is a classic in its own right.
The opening suite offers up a delicious 16-minute trio of Godless, Mohammed and Nietzsche, which come to define that laidback Warhols sound. Godless, especially, is brilliant, combining a lazy drool with some fine horn work and some instantly addictive riffs. The chorus, too, is just effortlessly catchy and remarkably cool.
Mohammed, though, has some genuinely great guitar work and rolls along seamlessly, while Nietzsche is dripping in trippy, psychedelic values complete with fuzzy riffs, hazy vocals and a laidback sound befitting the classic indie likes of Jesus & Mary Chain.
A morning Cockerel and a bluesy riff greets the start of Country Leaver, which is one of two tracks that scream Rolling Stones (think Midnight Rambler, complete with Taylor-Taylor channelling Jagger vocally), Solid boasts cheeky lyricism and an insistent whistle hook and Horse Pills drops one meaty riff and an almost rap-sung vocal that recalls classic Beck.
And that’s not even hitting the best known tracks. Get Off, with its distinct ‘whoo-ha’ harmony and classic chorus, is a belter that hasn’t aged a day since you first heard it, Cool Scene is laidback and as effortlessly cool as its name suggests, and Bohemian Like You speaks for itself. It’s just a classic rock cut boasting that classic guitar intro.
Of the tracks we haven’t mentioned, Sleep offers a laidback, low-key, slow-burner that – even at five minutes – provides a really great listen, Shakin’ finds Taylor-Taylor adopting a more muscular vocal amid some more striking guitar work and Big Indian is a deliciously slow-burning ballad of sorts that, again, is structured around classic rock riffs and storytelling.
This is one of those rare albums that never puts a foot wrong, right down to its hugely satisfying, blues-soaked finale The Gospel.
And the deluxe edition offers up a bonus CD of demos, B-sides and remixes that merely extend the pleasure. Tracks worth checking out here include the opening blast Later The Show and Ras Rafar And I, which are defined by more great riff-making, an alt vox mix of Godless (one niggle is that the Massive Attack mix hasn’t made the cut) and early and demo mixes of Cool Scene and Country Leaver, if only to see how raw (but still great) they started out.
Really, this is exceptional stuff – ripe for revisiting in remastered style, or discovering for the very first time. Either way, satsifaction is guaranteed.
Download picks: Godless, Mohammed, Country Leaver, Get Off, Cool Scene, Bohemian Like You, Big Indian, Later The Show, Ras Tafar And I, Godless (alt vox mix), Bohemian Like You (courtney home demo), Cool Scene (courtney home demo), Dub Song
- Later The Show (a.k.a. Kinky)
- Ras Tafar and I (a.k.a. Dub Song)
- Cool Scene
- Country Leaver
- Bohemian Like You
- Big Indian
- Big Indian
- Cool Scene
- Dub Song