REVIEW: The Dandy Warhols – Distortland


Just over 20 years on from their striking debut album Dandys Rule OK, Portland’s finest are releasing their ninth studio album Distortland.

Throughout their lavish career, The Dandy Warhols’ have alternated and experimented with various creative styles, from ‘16 minute rave-ups’ all the way to the positively striped back sounds of This Machine, the band have continued to innovate.

From the get-go, the record sounds like a deleted reel for earlier work, circa Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia. With the lone-tone synth accompanied by bursts of brass, opening track ‘Search Party’ posses everything we’ve come to expect from The Dandy’s. Don’t let this fool you into believing all of the tracks are a trip down memory lane however, with Courtney Taylor-Taylor drawing inspiration from corners of music not yet explored in their previous LPs.

Two particular highlights of Distortland are singles; ‘Catcher in the Rye’ which provides a mid-80s groove with a bouncy bass riff to match and ‘STYGGO’ (Some Things You Gotta Get Over) soothing the soul with the gentle strokes of semi-acoustic guitar superbly layered with bongo hits.  With leading singles such as these along with ‘You Are Killing me’ (track seven), it’s clear that The Dandy Warhols are keen to shrug off any intent of striving for commercial success as opposed to previous albums such as 2003’s Welcome to the Monkey House which features infamous hit ‘We Used To Be Friends’. Instead they have reassessed and striped things back, losing a large part of their electronic influence, and it’s worked, Distortland doesn’t sound like the work of a tired group of ‘forty-somethings’ but instead like a continued effort to push themselves creatively.

A new mix of 2015’s ‘All The Girls in London’ features late on before the album is drawn to a close with ‘The Grow up Song’. At a modest 33 minutes, Distortland is rounded off with Taylor-Taylor disclaiming, “I’m too old for this shit”. The 33 minutes prior to that begs to differ however.

A welcome gem in an already glistening back catalogue.

ALEC LARKIN-RILEY @aleclarkinriley


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