Welcome to the Monkeyhouse - Dandy Warhols' Welcome to the Monkeyhouse

2006-03-29 18:16

Okay, it's obviously some kind of pastiche of Andy Warhol's artwork for the iconoclastic Velvet Underground debut as well as the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers (1971). Clever bunch these Dandys are then, delivering an unmistakable Pop Art collage where glam, disco, new wave and the spectre of Warhol himself hang out together.

Prime exhibit is the delirious electro-clash of "We Used to Be Friends" where synth and keyboards swirls, indie guitar hooks and one helluva infectious vocal chorus come together in an unadulterated glam-meets-retro disco anthem. Translated? Take one part The Stones circa "Emotional Rescue", add a dose of "Fashion" era Bowie and stir with a swizzle stick of T-Rex's "Electric Warrior" to taste.

The cameo cast is nothing to be sniffed at either. Duran Duran keyboard whizz Nick Rhodes co-produces adding additional synth scapes, while everyone from Simon LeBon (backing vocals on "Plan A") to Bowie cohorts Tony Visconti (electric bass on "The Dope" and "Hit Rock Bottom") and Nile Rodgers (rhythm guitar on "I am a Scientist") play their part. But this is no mere "blissed out" nostalgic exercise in excess. The sensitive lyrical pop fractures of "You Were the Last High" (again, co-written by summery power popper Evan Dando) and the Radiohead-esque sprawl of "Come in Burned" provide an appealing aural counterfoil to the "Get it On" glam jam of "Hit Rock Bottom".

Yet curiously, despite the abundance of hip retro riffs and snappy lyrics about love and life's many cul-de-sacs, the listener is left struggling to relate to any tangible emotional inner core. Of course, this is probably precisely The Dandy Warhols' intention.

Any band that sticks a banana being unzipped on their cover is clearly trying to say something.

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