The Dandy Warhols are a band emblematic of student cynic chic: their we-take-drugs lyrics on Thirteen Tales of Urban Bohemia evoked a supremely stylish laziness. The Dandy Warhols, like everyone else, ooze don’t-give-af**k style, their ludicrously named front man Courtney Taylor-Taylor permanently sporting a sneer that could sour milk (and stunning cheek bones, if you will allow me to digress).However, it seems the band have woken up from their lethargy, rather like Placebo’s embrace of electronica after Without You I’m Nothing, winning back the fans lulled into melancholia by their self-indulgent misery. Likewise there is an enjoyable range of energetic 80s beats on Welcome to the Monkey House, as well as a number of intriguing motifs, from the orgasmic panting on synth-pop singalong ‘The Dope’ to the funky ‘I Am Sound’, which is hugely reminiscent of David Bowie’s ‘Ashes to Ashes’. The Warholsbeing well-known for their sense of faux-irony and the kitsch. One can’t help but feel that times Taylor-Taylor (who co-produced the album with Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes) is over-sexing his performance; his husky drawl is perhaps too provocative for comfort.
The Warhols keep up a steady stream of toe-tappers, although the album occasionally loses its energy: it sometimes diminishes into characteristic apathy. However, there are enough lush layers of sound for the album serve as ambient background music for any student gathering involving tie-dyed blankets and incense sticks (‘The Dandy Warhols Love Almost Everyone’ being a prime example), as well there being adequately danceable tracks, such as the bass-driven ‘You Were the Last High’. They even come close to rocking out on ‘Heavenly’, although that kind unbridled enthusiasm is curtailed soon enough. Unabashed indulgence would be the death of the Warhols’ endearingly chilled-out sound, but Welcome to the Monkey House shows them pulling their socks up just enough to save them from camp-pop obscurity. Out Monday.
ARCHIVE: 2nd Week TT 2003

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