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Oddities of Portland, Mars

The Dandy Warhols - Odditorium or Warlords of Mars
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Sept. 24, 2006
The Dandy Warhols

Review by Brad Walseth

Named after their sprawling warehouse/studio/party palace in downtown Portland, The Dandy Warhols latest release is sprawling, messy, unfocused, drug-hazed, noisy, shadowy, and a lot of fun - probably not unlike the interior of their hangout (itself modeled after Andy Warhol's Factory).

Brainy critics have been bashing this release as a soppy attempt by mere pop musicians to gain indie credibility by releasing seven minute one chord drones with Kraftwerkian vocals, and sloppy, seemingly thrown-off pop songs. And in some regards they may be right. But concerns with "cred" in pop music seem misguided; the bottom line is does the music work - and for the most part this (warehouse) space oddity does. What ever happened to fun anyway? I say if the drone fits, dig it, especially when it's so good and velvety. Do they malinger too long and test your nerves? Yeah they do. Does Courtney Taylor-Taylor sound like he's coasting on the vocals? Yup, but then most singers would kill to sound so good trying. Are they naughty indeed for ripping off The Hives on "Smoke It"? Despite the good results, yes. And these bad boys and girls deserve a slap on the wrist for their lazy, pot-fueled meandering when they should be up in the tower writing another "Bohemian Like You."

In the end though, the charms do outweigh the detractions. Achilleas Anastasopolis adds some fun free jazzing on trumpet on the jams. The guitar work throughout is gooey, delicious frosting - noisy, but not Sonic Youth noisy. Their banjo ode to emigration in the Age of Bush II - "The New Country " is a nice dig at the red-staters. But it is a trio of pop songs that pushes this disk back into the realm of the Dandies we know and love. "Holding Me Up," "Everyone is Totally Insane" and "Down by Disco" are three indie pop songs that deserve a place in your listening rotation. Even when seemingly just knocking them off, Taylor-Taylor and the Dandies prove you can succeed without really trying. Wonder what all tomorrow's parties will bring?

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