The Dandy Warhols Return In Fine Form On ‘Distortland’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

[rating=8.00]

12909678_10153727131714865_7242844705817866581_oThe Dandy Warhols have been creating music together for over twenty years. The majority of the first half of their career was spent on major label Capitol Records where they produced their most mainstream album Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia, which included the single “Bohemian Like You”. After splitting with Capitol and forming their own label Beat The World Records, they released a trio of studio albums to mixed reviews. With Distortland, their first release with Dine Alone Records, Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Co. are back in fine form with a record that rivals their best output from the past two decades.

The album draws the listener in with its most upbeat songs; “Search Party” begins with a flanged, spacey guitar that is soon united with a swinging drum beat and dreamy vocals that bring to mind The Stone Roses. Continuing in a similar vein is “Semper Fidelis”. Booming waves of synth sounds blast out over distorted guitars before front man Taylor-Taylor’s vocals join in with a sort of chanting lyric. “Pope Reverend Jim” and “You are Killing Me” are both equally upbeat tracks that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Dandy Warhols release from the late 90’s.

The majority of the album follows a bit more of a dreamy, low tempo formula. The percussive “STYGGO” plays a catchy disco melody over a chorus that is mostly “doo-doo-do-doo-do” that induces head bobbing along to the beat. “Catcher In The Rye” and “All The Girls In London” fall in the mid-tempo range with a hand clapping beat and brings Taylor-Taylor’s singing more to the front of the mix.

The track “Doves” feels like it should be the album’s closing track as it finds The Dandy Warhols in their element. Reverberating guitars play over a funky drum beat while Taylor-Taylor’s chanting voice feels like it’s another instrument. The second half of the song jams out mostly instrumentally and leaves the listener wishing that the song would be a couple of minutes longer. “The Grow Up Song,” the actual closing track, seems like it should be a “hidden track” or maybe a B-side. The minute-and-a-half song finds Taylor-Taylor singing lyrics about growing up over distorted bar chords and feels very out of place on the album.

Ultimately, Distortland is the finest output by The Dandy Warhols in the past decade. Combining the electronic approach with catchy alt-rock that has always been their foundation, and on this album they have found the right formula for synthesizing a new sound. This return to form bodes well for the Portland-based band and hopefully heralds the start of a new era for The Dandy Warhols.

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