Criticising the Warhols for being arch is like criticizing the Pope for being Catholic.
Tim Nelson 2008-08-06
The Dandy Warhols' sixth album sounds like a great party record from the next room, but closer inspection reveals it to be more grindingly repetitive than transcendentally exciting. Not that the album is without highpoints, since the band have a knack for addictive riffs and a welcome line in self-depreciating humour. But a question remains as to why you would choose this album over any of their others.
Earth To The Dandy Warhols is the band's first release on their own label, but anyone looking for a track to match either Last Junkie On Earth or that Vodafone ad theme, Bohemian Like You, will be disappointed. For many listeners, this is may be the first new material encountered in the wake of the film DiG, which documented the tragicomic rivalry between the Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre and, arguably, revealed the former as synthetic wannabees. However, criticizing the Warhols for being arch is like criticising the Pope for being Catholic.
After umpteen television and film placements, they at least wear their success lightly, and the album does play to the band's stoned and sardonic strengths, with an expensive and intricate production. They still sound more Gary Numan than Iggy Pop (particularly on current radio favourite, Mission Control), but at least the failed seduction of Welcome To The Third World sees the funny side of their faintly ludicrous white-boy funk. As on their previous albums, the songs consistently flow into one another, but this heavily-crafted sequencing is also the band's undoing, since the lack of variation eventually becomes wearing.
By the second half, the album has the desperate air of someone trying to get to the end, without quite achieving the glorious dumbness they seem to be aiming at (for instance, on Valerie Yum). Taken as a whole, the album suggests you have to get out of it to get into it, but the flipside of that is the growing sense of an unwelcome, brutal and premature musical hangover. On which note, the album's last track, the indulgent and pretentious tone-poem, Musee D'Nougat, is definitely best avoided.