I’ve had a love/hate relationship with The Dandy Warhols since I saw the film clip for “Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth” on Rage when I was twelve. That clip was the perfect blend of arty flamboyance and the ridiculous excesses that fame brings - which is a fitting metaphor for the band’s career. Over the past 18 years, they’ve received accolades for their timeless pop riffs and harsh ridicule for their self-indulgent tripe, and you’re delusional if you ever expect them to produce another gem like Come Down or Thirteen Tales of Urban Bohemia.
The thing about the Dandy’s is that they’ve always been hipper than thou, and they don’t give a fuck about what you or I think. They are a band who are so irrelevant, that 2009’s self-congratulatory wank The Dandy Warhols Are Sound remained mostly unnoticed as it fell ungracefully into the sea of noise. They make music purely because they can, and while their resilience in the unforgiving market is a noteworthy achievement in itself, their latest offering This Machine is another divisive release that won’t win over any new converts, but is sure to appease the die hard fans.
The most noticeable curiosity about This Machine is its distinct lack of singles. On first listen, the music simply washes over you as pleasant background sounds. Persist with it, and the Dandy’s indifferent charm takes hold and leaves you with a case of the warm and fuzzies, and even though the record pales in comparison to the genius of their early years, it is nonetheless their best release since 2003’s Welcome To The Monkey House, and the album as a whole works well.
This Machine is the closest the Dandy’s have ever come to an earnest, irony free release - gone are the cringe worthy one liners and painfully long instrumentals. They have been replaced by Taylor-Taylor’s ever apathetic drawl as he reflects on his heydays, which are well and truly over, to a backdrop of tightly reigned in psych jams. Opener “Sad Vacation” is classic Taylor-Taylor/De Boer brilliance, with the spiralling bass and sense of urgency instantly demanding your attention. “Enjoy Yourself” sees a sober Taylor-Taylor enjoying his health as he self-effacingly sings that he ‘used to be cool’ and ‘used to be pretty’. “SETI vs The Wow! Signal” is stupidly catchy and fun - a late highlight that snaps you out of the sleepy middle of the album haze.
This Machine is by no means a great record, but it is an enjoyable one that’ll put a smile on your face and brighten up your day if you let it. Which is what pop music is for, after all, and kudos to The Dandy Warhols for still being the hippest pop whores in the business.
Review score: 5.8/10