Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia
[B]The Dandy Warhols[/B]' music is good enough to override any irritation you might have with their bullshit...
Well, fold your hands, child, you walk like a rock star. For this one at least purports to be about substances over substance. The Dandy Warhols are the sick portrait [a]Belle & Sebastian[/a] keep locked in their attic, the absolute triumph of quotes over notes, the least likely band in the world to claim they just make music, and if anyone else likes them it’s a bonus. What do you mean, you’d rather listen to their records than read their interviews? Sorry. They’ve just come.
But when you’ve fucked and snorted your way around the world, then gone all the way around the world again telling everyone about it, what exactly do you do for an encore? In the case of The Dandy Warhols – and somewhat unconventionally – you make a pretty good album. ‘Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia’, the third album by Courtney Taylor and his sucked-in, tumbling-out Portland mates, still finds them determined to be seen as the debauched nephews and niece of Uncle Lou and Auntie Iggy. There’s the acrid whiff of a sixth-former evangelising after their first joint in that excruciating album title, the knowing nods to Nietzsche, the overwhelming self-consciousness of it all.
The paradox that made ‘The Dandy Warhols Come Down’ so weird remains, too – a band who pose as beautiful, alien New York rock’n’roll legends and sound like gauche Home Counties indie kids. Shoegazers, to be specific, so much so that ‘…Urban Bohemia’‘s first three songs – ‘Godless’, ‘Mohammed’ and ‘Nietzsche’ – are essentially Ride lost in the Mojave, the last’s limpid harmonies and multiple pedal action in particular summoning the ghost of ‘Leave Them All Behind’. Contrarily enough, they’re terrific.
After a while, the whirling atmospherics give way to the Dandys‘ dorkier tendencies: the jaunty chuggers, Taylor‘s dissolute mannerisms, the quirky little twists and tricks. Only the [I]faux[/I]-hick country of ‘Country Leaver’ is a joke beyond a joke, though, being the Velvets‘ ‘Lonesome Cowboy Bill’ on a one-legged horse. These are sickly, smartarse pleasures, but it’s still hard to resist the psychedelic Monkees larks of ‘Cool Scene’, or the way ‘Bohemian Like You’, a withering piss-take of wannabe scenesters, is upholstered with knowing echoes of The Rolling Stones‘ ‘Brown Sugar’.
“Oh yeah I wait tables too/No I haven’t heard your band/’Cos you guys are pretty new”, sneers Taylor at the wannabe hipsters in ‘Bohemian Like You’, though all the criticisms could just as easily be levelled at himself. Perhaps, at the heart of his Jacuzzi blow-job mythologising, he doth protest too much. Want to hear something really perverse? The Dandy Warhols‘ music is good enough to override any irritation you might have with their bullshit, just as [a]Belle & Sebastian[/a]’s music is good enough to compensate their [I]lack[/I] of bullshit. Now, where did I put that catamite?