London Camden Dingwalls

It's a bit like being double-jointed, having breasts onstage....

It’s a bit like being double-jointed, having breasts onstage. It’s quite natural, really, like a monkey’s inflamed red bottom or a [I]National Geographic[/I] photo-reportage. And as with silly bendy elbows, there’s always the lurking temptation to show off nature’s bounty. If the mark of a successful [a]Dandy Warhols[/a] show is keyboard player and unreconstructed hippy child Zia McCabe taking her top off, then the pair of mammaries blithely flip-flopping along to ‘It’s A Fast-Driving Rave-Up…’, the Warhols‘ seething, grooving encore, indicate that this has been a great [a]Dandy Warhols[/a] show.

But hey, let’s not get down to gynaecology too hastily. In the past, The Dandy Warhols have too often just been about toplessness and heroin references, and all debauched points between. Which is just fine by them, you suspect. Why else would you release such a catchy, fiendishly funny ditty as ‘Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth’ and strip off in public? But mere tits and skag do not do their muse justice. For their muse is The Drone and their currency is head music, not just catchy vice-pop.

They may still look like a dippy stylist’s idea of a rock band, singer Courtney Taylor impossibly chiselled, drummer Brent DeBoer implausibly big-haired, third guitarist and trumpeter Trojan ridiculously Stetson-ed. There’s something of the Archies, too, in the way Zia tinkles her tambourine while the other hand coaxes fat chords from the keyboard. But behind the dopey, raunchy pop cartoon, a thrumming, psychedelic creature is proudly emerging. And its song is [I]high[/I].

Where ‘…The Dandy Warhols Come Down’ boasted great singles and some so-so would-be noodling, their new record ’13 Tales From Urban Bohemia’ is more gratifyingly split between great singles and truly fantastic guitar moodiness. The Drone isn’t, as in the past, apologetically hidden away, so the record company won’t notice it; it’s in your head and coiled round your groin.

So tonight officially belongs not to radio-friendly bops like ‘…Junkie’ (don’t worry, they play it, we jump around like the syringes in the video) but to sinuous three-guitar prowls like ‘Godless’, the new album’s terrific opener, with its warm, mesmeric strum and unaffected brass beetling. Every note that exudes from the Dandys‘ big, buzzy amps tonight comes coated in this narcotic liquid glaze: ‘Every Day Should Be A Holiday’ weighing in early and heavy; ‘I Love You’ reduced to a slow, sweet chug; pop-minded newie ‘Bohemian’ borrowing from the Stones‘Brown Sugar’ to ecstatic effect. This self-styled bohemia of theirs, it’s more Camden Market stall beret than sour cigarettes in avant-garde European cafis. But strangely, you don’t mind.