Album Review: The Dandy Warhols - The Machine

24 April 2012 | 10:24 am | Sevana Ohandjanian

A curious mish-mash of all the noises they’ve made rolled into one languid, yet respectfully short record

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For so long it was impossible to pin down what the Dandys sound was. From the shoegaze of their debut through to Earth To Dandy Warhols, the only signpost was that they could craft indelibly catchy pop songs. This Machine is exactly what fans would expect of a Dandys record, a curious mish-mash of all the noises they've made rolled into one languid, yet respectfully short record. It continues the sound of This Is The Tide – the bonus track on their recent greatest hits compilation.

Courtney Taylor-Taylor's voice drawls through automated tones across the record, kicking off with the grind of Sad Vacation, another Dandys earworm if ever, followed by The Autumn Carnival, a mid-tempo tune in which Taylor-Taylor tries for smouldering but comes off croaky. Some tunes rely on a saccharine pop cheapness, like the lyrically empty Enjoy Yourself – but perhaps I'm going against the ethos of the song title by saying such things? It falls into the realm of Smoke It and Down Like Disco, songs that have pop sensibilities but are missing the crucial heart required to convince the listener.

Contrasting the upbeat songs is the instrumental powerhouse of Alternative Power To The People and the melodic '90s alt of Rest Your Head. Well They're Gone is a subtle and slow tune that reminds us that the Dandys have strengths elsewhere, and are just as able when it comes to tugging the occasional heartstring.

The Dandy Warhols haven't made an album in the traditional sense for a long time. Like their previous efforts this is a collection of songs that seems to sample all of their talents with cohesiveness not on the agenda.

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