Rockin' Our Turntable: The Dandy Warhols

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on May 29, 2008 5:45PM

Earth To The Dandy WarholsAdd The Dandy Warhols to the ever growing list of established bands adopting inventive new routes for getting their music out to the people. The band has released it newest album, ...Earth To The Dandy Warhols..., under an innovative subscription model for folks that want the album before the physical discs hit the streets. For $34.99 subscribers get a digital copy now, a physical copy in the mail accompanied by a hand silk-screened poster, one year's access to all singles and b-sides the band puts out, and a few other perks like access to pre-sale concert tickets.

We're all for new business models being employed to put more power in the hands of individual bands, but after 2005's overstuffed and disappointing Odditorium or Warlords of Mars one could be forgiven for thinking $34.99 might be a pretty steep price if the new disc continues the band on a downward slide.

And, as if they were anticipating that criticism, the band is streaming all of ...Earth To The Dandy Warhols... online so that folks know what they're getting into. Luckily for all involved ...Earth To The Dandy Warhols... is a welcome return to form for the band.

The top half of the album is layered with pop tunes more in line with the band's post-2000 output, filled with catchy rhythms and chugging rhythms. In fact the white boy funk of "Welcome to the 3rd World" could almost be seen as a sequel to 2000's "Bohemian Like You." Now instead of preying on easy art-school girls, the protagonist cynically faces the fact he's no longer all that and spits insults at the women around him to reveal he's just another misogynistic asshole. It's a risky tactic but it works as singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor fearlessly inhabits the skin of a thoroughly unlikable character.

Midway through the album gives itself over to the shoegaze cross-stitch of guitars the band originally grew famous for, only instead of letting them fall shapelessly to the ground as on Odditorium, the band has regained control of their amps and re-learned how to shape the oscillating tones to greater effect.

There are no breakout obvious hits on the album, but the playful banjo that ripples through "Love Song" could be radio ready, and the bopping clatter of "Mis Amigos" begs to be ripped out on a warm evening drive down the highway.