At what point did the Dandy Warhols depart from being America's answer to My Bloody Valentine except with a penchant for pop-friendly brilliance? Was it when the band's songs were being tapped for use in vehicles ranging from the theme to Judd Apatow's defunct television series Undeclared to a European Vodaphone advertising campaign? Or when they co-starred alongside the Brian Jonestown Massacre in the 2004 documentary DiG!? All that's clear is in between the time major-label employer Capitol Records and Dandy's leader Courtney Taylor-Taylor started drifting apart, the latter bought a studio and creative quality started sliding.
The Dandy's self-indulgence hit its nadir with 2005's Odditorium or Warlords of Mars, a half-assed batch of noodling and navel-gazing. A return to the band's indie rock roots with the self-released ... Earth to the Dandy Warhols ... hasn't lessened this kind of masturbatory excess a bit. The fine line between experimentalism and an in-studio five-knuckle shuffle is crossed regularly — particularly on the one-two punch of "Valerie Yum" and "Musee D'Nougat." With the former being a pointless Bowie-esque rocker in the vein of "Rebel Rebel" with "yum yum" being the main refrain, the latter is fourteen minutes of reverberating synth tones with inaudible chattering popping up that sounds as bad as it reads.
There are occasional flare-ups of the Dandy's inherent talents — there's the Love & Rockets-like space-jangle of "Talk Radio" and the airy "Love Song," a twangy ditty featuring crisp playing by dobroist Mark Knopfler and banjoist Mike Campbell. But essentially, the Dandy Warhols are currently in a musical galaxy really not worth visiting. (Beat the World)
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