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Dandy Warhols | Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia | review | indie | alternative | rock | Lollipop

The Dandy Warhols

Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia (Capitol)
by Jamie Kiffel

Rich, deep acoustic guitar voices ebb and flow like emotional water, opening The Dandy Warhols' latest EP with a pungent whiff of The Moody Blues. "Godless," the first track, has that soft, minor key quality that sends a deliciously minor-key chill of melodrama, à la "Hotel California" or "Stairway to Heaven." When I was very young and feeling particularly romantic, I would sit alone with my autoharp, hold down key F7, strum lightly and consider death. Such is the quality of this track, which would surely elevate the neck hairs of most college radio DJs. Strangely, the rest of the EP does not follow suit. That isn't to say that the kooky, King Missile quality of the second track, "Shakin'," isn't fun and bouncy enough to make me smile. It does mean that "Godless" lulls the listener's biorhythms into a false sense of security, only to be shattered by "Shakin'"'s electric wahs. The album goes on to become increasingly collegiate, complete with fuzzed guitars, scratchy vocals and power chord progressions. Track five, however, suddenly remembers its cue and rushes back onstage just in time for a heartwrenching musical monologue something like late R.E.M., under which has been lain the phone conversation of some unfortunate couple's breakup. The sad, slow music certainly is true to the feeling of heartbreak, but did it make a wrong turn back in Albuquerque? What's it doing following happy-go-lucky electric tracks 2-4? This could be explained by the fact that, as the album notes, "Tracks 3-5 previously unreleased." Capitol Records had to stick them somewhere, and apparently, the person in charge of filing was away that day. The result is a mishmash of musical moods that would make excellent fodder for your own, more carefully devised mix tapes.


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