The Dandy Warhols : This Machine
Michael Apted should have adapted his 7 Up cinematic narrative concept to the intertwined journeys of the Dandy Warhols and Brian Jonestown Massacre. A decade after the now infamous documentary Dig!, Anton Newcombe and his merry band of psychedelic minstrels have solidified into a coherent unit, while still residing well outside the realms of commercial success; the Dandys have scaled the heady heights of popular acclaim, danced with the devil that is the major label industry, and returned to independent fringe from whence they came.
And for the Dandys, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. On the band’s latest record This Machine, The Dandy Warhols find a satisfying balance between pop, electronic and psychedelia. The opening track Sad Vacation is Krautrock-via-Portland, where the streets of Willy Brandt’s West Germany are flooded with vegan hipsters smug to the eyeballs with philosophical piety. The Autumn Carnival is measured in a Shriekback sort of way; Enjoy Yourself is ripped straight from David Bowie’s nocturnal Berlin exploits in 1977. Alternative Power To The People is alt.rock polemic with tongue secreted in cheek and hips grinding effortlessly, Well They’re Gone is as sparse as a dance with Hugo Race in a deserted bar and Rest Your Head puts its head down on the pillow and reminds you of everything that’s good in the world.
On 16 Tons jazz and punk tango like the Dumb Earth on a dose of speed; I Am Free is a stripped down Won’t Get Fooled Again with a shot of '80s Sydney surf rock and Seti And The Wow! Signal is where INXS could have ended up if only they’d just kept on walking. Don’t Shoot She Cried is psychedelic country with pathos in spades; Slide is Pink Floyd meets new wave with any hint of pretension left at the door. The Dandy Warhols could have decided to stay on the linear path to predictability and commercial success; that they didn’t is very much a good thing.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Best Track: Enjoy Yourself
If You Like These, You'll Like This: Heroes-era DAVID BOWIE, NEU!
In A Word: Dandy