What makes one band stand out from another is when they take you by surprise…pleasant surprise. The last thing any music fan wants to hear is slight rendition of what they’ve heard before, with a new CD cover and new lyrics. It’s a complete waste of everyone’s time and money.
In their tribute to Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s book of short stories, The Dandy Warhols’ Welcome To The Monkey House goes deeper and wider than they’ve ever gone before. The group has grown with a level of maturity that’s turned their daisy freshness into a rich, velvety bouquet of roses. Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s (a ditto name change he did a little while back) vocals have blossomed beyond the “wet behind the ears” enthusiasm, going from a low Love and Rockets simmer (especially on “Hit Rock Bottom” ala a “So Alive” rhythm) to a “reach for the sky” highness.
The dewy harmonies still sprinkle each track, giving off an intoxicating fragrance of pop essence – from those soaring vocals on “We Used To Be Friends” and “The Dandy Warhols Love Almost Everyone” to the funky rhythms and “ooh-wee-ooh” pop sugar. They haven’t lost that slick psychedelic style, fused by spacey twists and beats, and echoing, wacky drum clicks. You’ll definitely feel the robot dance creeping up on “I Am A Scientist”.
I get a craving for brownies and a bean bag chair on “The Dope”, a smoky toke of permeating modern rock, complete with a quircky monkey background vocal and flowing harp-like keyboard effects that makes the trip all worthwhile. I could see “Your Were The Last High” becoming a soundtrack hit for some romantic, European film, with the ending scene spanning across the city of Paris or London where the movie’s story took place.
Die hard fans of the Warhols are in good company. Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran partnered with Taylor-Taylor on production, and even Bowie asked them to join him on his 2003 Reality tour. Ironic, when you hear “I Am Sound” and the intro piano tinkling…
Like a kid at Christmas time, I couldn’t wait to open up the latest Dandy release, especially after witnessing their blatant phallic Flash intro on www.dandywarhols.com. From the second I slid it into my CD player, there it stayed, playing over and over until I needed to do this review. During this hot, sweaty season, there’s nothing that’ll keep you cooler than riding this classic, “must have for summer 2003” release. Stay tuned…they’ll be bringing their monkey and bananas to Denver in September.