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The Dandy Warhols - Odditorium or Warlords of Mars


Review: Jack Foley

"BY the end of the great war, The Dandy Warhols had progressed far beyond the traditional drug band sound...

...And by the time such luminaries as Elvis Presley and BB King had head this new Warhols sound, they were calling it rock 'n' roll."

So begins the new album from The Dandy Warhols - the oddly titled Odditorium or Warlords of Mars.

The good news is that it's a welcome return for a band that have not generated any new material since 2003's Welcome To The Monkey House.

What's more, they have resorted to more traditional Dandy Warhols values, mixing some expansive rock tracks that recall some of the great bands of yesteryear with some of their own material from past albums, Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia.

As mentioned, the album kicks off with the quirky monologue that announces the new form of rock 'n' roll that the Dandys would like to think they are delivering, before then tripping forward into a sprawling Love Is The New Feel Awful, with its epic outlook and flourishes of trumpet.

It's an excellent start that isn't always replicated in the rest of proceedings - even though they remain strong throughout.

Easy is a classically laidback Dandy Warhols number, with Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s whispery vocal style dripped in the drug sound that the earlier monologue suggests has gone.

While the effortlessly hip All The Money Or The Simple Life Honey is a real blast from the past, complete with more trumpet flourishes, a foot-tapping beat, some fine melodies and a typically humourous, anti-work ethic (great for listening to when on holiday, or driving down a Californian highway).

The good humour continues with the country-style, harmonica-soaked The New Country, which has an endearing quality that's difficult to shake.

While Holding Me Up is another of those hopelessly infectious Dandy Warhols signature tunes that just seem to ooze laidback, stoner style.

The album seems to get more ambitious in its latter stages, with tracks like Everyone Is Totally Insane eschewing a more contemporary rock style, and Taylor-Taylor's vocals awaking from their comfortable slumber.

While the recent single, Smoke It, finds the band revisiting and updating the classic sound of their biggest album, Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia, with yet more anti-establishment sentiment.

The broad rock 'n' roll sweep of Down Like Disco is truly invigorating, while there's a distinctly retro vibe surrounding the brooding, wimsical There Is Only This Time, which seems to be pointing towards the epic stoned style of The Doors for inspiration.

It is one of two tracks that takes a little longer to appreciate - the other being the final track, A Loan Tonight, which is the most in yer face effort the band have delivered in a while, featuring a crunching guitar riff and strained, distorted vocals that recall the heydey of Pink Floyd, as well as Gary Numan.

Both tracks means the album draws to a close in slightly more obscure fashion and threaten to distort the overall ease of enjoyment.

But give them enough time and they help to ensure that Odditorium represents another superb piece of work from the Warhols that mixes simple pleasures with something a little more emphatic besides.

Related review: DIG! review (The Dandy Warhols/Brian Jonestown Massacre documentary)

Track listing:
1. Colder Than The Coldest Winter Was Cold
2. Love Is The New Feel Awful
3. Easy
4. All The Money Or The Simple Life Honey
5. The New Country
6. Holding Me Up
7. Did You Make A Song With Otis
8. Everyone Is Totally Insane
9. Smoke It
10. Down Like Disco
11. There Is Only This Time
12. A Loan Tonight


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