Monday 11 April 2016

The Dandy Warhols - Distortland

Article by KevW

The Dandy Warhols have often been seen as a band you either love or hate, but their fans are certainly dedicated. Hits such as 'Every Day Should Be a Holiday' and Bohemian Like You' may have tickled the underbelly of mainstream success, but listeners expecting their albums to be full of those sort of catchy guitar tunes probably won't have found what they were looking for amongst more swampy-sounding psych-rock and garage (that said, I doubt many can knock the sheer majesty of tracks like 'Godless'). In fairness to them, The Dandy Warhols have never pandered to the masses for huge commercial success, and, if anything, recent albums have seen them reinforce their status as outsiders. Will 'Distortland' change any of that? Almost certainly not, but it does see the band exploring different ideas and it doesn't disappoint.

The lead single from 'Distrotland' is 'You Are Killing Me', and it can very much been seen as classic Dandys, as well as being considered this album's 'Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth' or 'Get Off'. It's also a proper grower and even a few months on from its initial release it continues to sound better with each play. Elsewhere things are more understated and often stripped-back. There is a woozy, psychedelic dreampop feel to opener 'Search Party', and even more so on 'Doves' which finds them at their lushest, but this is a record that never really "gets going" as it were, something that does mean it takes a few spins to get to grips with, although it's certainly worth it as the songs unravel their paired-down secrets.

The phasing and atmospheric 'Semper Fidelis' turns out to be a broody and trippy journey into the dark, while 'Catcher In The Rye' plods along with hushed tones but begins to sparkle after a while, with the woozy, twilight glow of 'Give' being even more hushed, much like short, lullaby-like closer 'The Grow Up Song'. Single 'STYGGO' could have been engineered to be brighter and bolder, but its catchiness probably works best the way it is; proof that big isn't always better. Both 'Pope Reverend Jim' and 'All The Girls In London' are modern garage-psych stompers that may have a little more urgency for those wanting instant kicks, but on the whole 'Distortland' requires a touch more work on the listener's part before it reveals its true colours, and it's definitely rewarding it in the end.

The Dandy Warhols' website

Buy: 'Distortland'

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