So, you make a droning record; a record with a pop hit about heroin chic and support Bowie a few times; co-write a single with Evan Dando and make the amazing - some might say era-defining - Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia with some output all over a mobile phone advert; follow it up with a pop record with Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran… then whatcha gonna you do?
For the incomprehensibly cool Courtney Taylor-Taylor and his Dandy Warhols, the answer is simple: you get mashed up, tour the world, then come back and do what feels right. The result is ‘Odditorium Or Warlords of Mars’, a predictably loose record, oblivious to the compromises and constraints of corporate demands or their context in modernity. It’s on the 12-minute closer of backward trance ‘A Loan Tonight’ that the joy of the Warhols is encapsulated and carries to that someone, somewhere should probably be fearing their dangerous inability to fit with the 'corporate' plan.
Despite being panned from the more scene-orientated and desperate has-beens of the music press, this isn’t an indulged bunch of pulled punches or pointless meanderings, it’s an album full of creative magic and songwriting gems. The Warhols ain’t lost it one bit, they’ve simply made a less straight-forward, rule-book gazing formulaic mock-opus, relieving and pleasing many in the process. Sidestep the more obvious swerve-ball of comeback single ‘Smoke It’ (which should currently be playing in any self-respecting indie disco near you) and you'll find the doo-doo-doo sprawling pop moments of the album ‘Holding Me Up’ and the ragged country of ’All the Money Or the Simple Life Honey’ which’ll run rings around any of the current crop of singles by the numerate two-bit New Order tribute bands currently signing major record deals. The Warhols will be starting parties for decadent pleasure seekers in deserted jazz bars around the world, whilst these illiterates and public school boys crawl back home to Mama.
‘Odditorium…’ is a record which drifts with the sway of a half-dream, whilst being delicately nuzzled beneath an orgy. The usual Warhols intoxicating indulgence is accounted for, the nine and a half minute trumpet-bloated opener ‘Love is the New Feel Awful’ being a particular stand-out, which in itself follows an introduction on how keyboardist Zia invented the Moog and subsequently the Warhols reinvented rock’n’roll. Whilst a complete reinvention of rock this may not be, a beautiful soaring record for messy nights and hungover Sundays, it most certainly is.
8Sean Adams's Score