|The Dandy Warhols - 'This Machine' (The End/Naïve/Beat The World Records)|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Tuesday, 24 April 2012 04:30|
Hmmmm.... American alternative rockers The Dandy Warhols on the front page of Uber Rock, whatever next? Well I certainly didn't have to think too long or hard about grabbing this CD for a review or including it on our hallowed homepage, as since I first discovered The Dandy Warhols via their 1997 single 'Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth' I've kinda been hooked by Courtney Taylor Taylor's warped view of what is alternative rock. In the process I've proudly watched all parental like over their musical outputs as the four piece moved from psychedelia through garage punk to electronica without once ever becoming a parody of themselves, and of course via 2000's 'Bohemian Like You' hit single they became all but so briefly the next big stars of the alternative scene - how things change eh?
With each album bringing diminished returns following the unit shifting pinnacle of 'Bohemian' The Dandy Warhols finally left Capitol records to found Beat The World records through which they released their last proper studio album '...Earth To Dandy Warhols' and 2009's remix album going by the name of 'The Dandy Warhols Are Sound'
So here we are three years on and the release of 'This Machine' marks the band's eighth foray into the recording studio, this time with the guys (and gal) self producing along with added studio trickery from Jeremy Sherrer for what promises to be one hell of an interesting listen.
And interesting it is too, albeit maybe not in the way most Uber Rockers would like to spend 40 minutes of their lives, you see The Dandy Warhols are back to their mixed up best merging all of the aforementioned genres plus a new found love for polka anjd ambient soundscapes into a melting pot of smouldering post grunge art rock. Opening duo of 'Sad Vacation' and 'The Autumn Carnival' just ooze Arthouse cool, but in a sense of what the Velvet Underground might have sounded like if Andy Warhol had embellished their debut album sleeve with a plaid banana. It's pop ladies and gentlemen but not as you may know it - or like it.
Much more suited to Uber Rockers taste buds will be more straightforward rant of 'Enjoy Yourself' stuffed full of Iggy/Mark E Smith attitude and built on a riff The Strokes would make an entire career out of (wait a minute they've done that already). Then just when you start to feel maybe a little too comfortable with what's getting inside your head we are off to another planet altogether via the fuzzed out instrumental of 'Alternative Power To The People', before things come crashing back down to earth via the sombre pairing of 'Well They're Gone' and 'Rest Your Head' taking you back to the Arthouse sound of the opening brace of tracks.
By this point in 'This Machine' I was starting to wonder what even hardcore Dandy Warhol fans might make of this blissed out neo psychedelic direction and most importantly what commercial success they might expect - if any? But as always with The Dandy Warhols you need to expect the unexpected, as up next the aforementioned polka influence raises its head via a cover of the legendary blues/folk tune '16 Tons', and straight away you can see Vodaphone or the likes knocking on their doors once again as this version has sleeper hit written all over it.
As in fact do the following duo of tracks, which also just happen to be 'The Machine's' highlights for yours truly. 'I Am Free' continues the spiritual tone of the album but in a much more uptempo and poppy manner, whilst 'Seti Vs The Wow! Signal' manages to out goth the goths and gives us a rare glimpse of the sleazier rock 'n' roll side of The Dandy Warhols, a side that I know is just bubbling under the surface waiting to get out.
But that glimpse of rock 'n' roll guitar excess is all too short lived as up next you have the Second Summer Of Love influenced closing tracks, with 'Don't Shoot She Cried' sounding like Andrew Wetherall has been let loose on it (not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination I might add) and 'Slide' very much akin to a Stone Roses outtake (again not a bad thing), it's just not what I would expect from The Dandy Warhols.
The Dandy Warhols may have made it to the front page of Uber Rock with 'This Machine', but with this album they have also either made a career defining collection of sounds pumping lifeblood through their very own rock 'n' rolls hearts, or a ponderous batch of art rock wank that will sell zilch. Hmmm......I certainly hope it's the former. Now it's over to you guys.