Dandy Warhols in shit album shocker.

All right, the new Dandy Warhols album isn’t shit. Certainly the album doesn’t justify reviews like the 1.2 out of 10 Pitchfork gave it. But, Odditorium or Warlords Of Mars is surprisingly subpar.

First off, the opening track is a jokey spoken word intro by A&E documentary host Bill Kurtis. It’s something you only need to hear once. In the middle of the album they have a 55 sec. track called “Did You Make A Song With Otis” which is the band singing “drunkenly” while a dog barks. My guess is the dog is the “Otis” of the title. Again, one time listen.

So, this leaves 10 actual songs. Four of those songs clock in at over seven minutes (“Love Is The New Feel Awful” at 9:36; “Easy” at 7:32; “Holding Me Up” at 7:15; “A Loan Tonight” at 11:49). A couple people know that I am a big fan of long songs. In fact my favorite Dandy Warhols song is “It’s A Fast Driving Rave Up With The Dandy Warhols Sixteen Minutes” which, when all is said and done, lasts 22 minutes. But, each of these four songs all could stand to lose at least three minutes or so apiece. Then I would say they are all great songs. It’s interesting, if you listen to each song you’ll hear a point where the Dandys probably should have ended the song. For example, “Holding Me Up” seems to die at about 4:30 into it, but then they keep it going for another 2:45. Frankly, I wonder if they got lazy and just didn’t want to write a few more songs to fill up an album. Don’t get me wrong, I really like these four songs, and I like their use of horns on each (and synth on “A Loan Tonight”). But, there is something to be said for “less is more”. Have a listen to “Date With The Night” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Then realize that song comes in at a streamlined 2:35.

What tells me they should have cut the length of the longer songs is the fact that the strongest part of Odditorium or Warlords Of Wars is tracks 9 – 11. Those songs clock in at around four minutes or so. I even like first single “Smoke It”, though I consider the song a self-parody. In fact, I think that is what this album amounts to: A Dandy Warhols self-parody. Take the song “The New Country”. This song is clearly meant to be a joke, with its lyrics about “whores” and “drinkin”. They can do alt-country well, as proven by “Minnesoter” or “Country Leaver”. Thankfully “The New Country” clocks in at only 2:10. “Everyone Is Totally Insane” is possibly their laziest song ever, with a melody they could write in their sleep, uninspired cliche Dandy’s title, a bored vocal from Courtney Taylor, and pointless studio banter at the end that makes the band sound like they couldn’t give a shit. Maybe fans reacted badly to the new more Duran Duran influenced synth feel their last album Welcome To The Monkey House had, so this was the Dandy Warhols answer.

They are capable of greatness: “Genius”, “Boys Better”, “Godless”, and “Plan A” are but four examples. And, two tracks on Odditorium Or Warlords of Mars match those songs. “Down Like Disco” is a rocking track and it sounds like they’re genuinely having fun. It has a cool synth line running through it. Here Courtney Taylor says, “I don’t want to get down like disco”, which may betray why they retreated to self-parody with this album, if I am right in thinking their synth direction likely wasn’t well embraced by a lot of fans. “There Is Only This Time” is a very chill dub track, and it sounds to me like what their next step should have been after Welcome To The Monkey House. Instead we get overlong songs, jokes, lack of inspiration, and Courtney Taylor sounding bored. But, I love the Dandy Warhols, I love their sound, and I’ll take a self-parody… once.

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