The Dandy Warhols | This Machine

The End (2012)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  April 17, 2012
2.5 2.5 Stars


The title of the Dandy Warhols' eighth record may be a Woody Guthrie allusion, but don't fret — the closest the Portland, Oregon, band get to politics here is a cover of Merle Travis's "16 Tons." Which is a weird choice, come to think of it, but then everything on This Machine is delivered with an oversized wink, tongue hidden somewhere in cheek. No track has the euphoric high of early songs like "Boys Better," or even its rewrite, "Bohemian Like You," and fair enough — big ups to the band that refuses to repeat itself (especially to the band that has so successfully repeated itself in the past). But there's no transcendent piece of pop that jumps from the speakers and anchors the rest of the set. As the husky, whispered vocals on "Sad Vacation" and "The Autumn Carnival" attest, this is a subdued, atmospheric affair, rooted in bangs-in-the-face, black-polish-on-the-fingernails '80s rock. (Street cred police take notice: the latter was co-written with David J of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets.) Two of the album's best songs, "I Am Free" and "SETI vs. the Wow Signal," drop the melancholy bullshit and rock out. Not that all the melancholy bullshit is a thing that should be dropped, but more of a lively, dulcet Dandys would be welcome.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, The Dandy Warhols, The Dandy Warhols,  More more >
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