Assessing this hootenanny without mentioning Dig! or the Brian Jonestown Massacre is like writing about Lee Harvey Oswald without using the word patsy. Like it or not, that cinematic bitch-slap defined both bands for a lot of folks who otherwise mightve gone on confusing them with Love and Rockets or Spacemen 3. Next to the torturous, genius-is-pain of Anton Newscombe, the Dandies couldnt help but come off like the McCartney half of the equation, shallow careerists marketing decadence with a wink for the kids.
Its not hard to imagine Courtney Taylor-Taylor producing this album with the same defensiveness with which Macca constantly reminds the press just who wrote Helter Skelter. Instead of building on the slick pop craftsmanship of Welcome to the Monkeyhouse, the Warhols took another look at their friendly rivals, the BJM, and decided, Hey, we can be shambolic messes too. Yeah, but those guys didnt do it on a record, maaan.
Which is a crime because at least a third of the playing time on this indecisively titled album is occupied with their loosest, most humanist sounds (All the Money or the Simple Life Honey, Everyone is Totally Insane, Holding Me Up, The New Country). Unfortunately, as co-producer, Taylor-Taylor seems unwilling to trim off any blip made by the band before or after a take. Like new lovers on the phone, songs become an interminable exercise of, No, you hang up first ... as every member tries to get in the last word or the last belch of feedback. So two-minute ideas are stretched into seven- and 11-minute jamborees.
And if you thought the Dandies seemed a little too self-enamored in Dig!, consider the megalomania of hiring A&E announcer Bill Kurtis to introduce this album, tell you that the Dandies invented rock n roll, and that what youre about to hear is a piece a history instead of the piece of shit that directly follows. Love is the New Feel Awful seems Taylor-Taylor made to infuriate ASAP imagine the original neo-psychedelicats, the Rolling Stones, kicking off Satanic Majesties with Sing This All Together (See What Happens) and Gomper and expecting people to hang around for Shes a Rainbow.
But maybe we shouldve seen this coming. One of the Dig! DVDs extras is a commentary track by the entire band in which everybody remains shockingly mum when Taylor-Taylor makes his divisive claim of doing everything in this band. With this album, those duties have extended to flushing them down the toilet.
A stoner’s quandary
by Chris Parker
Are Dandy Warhols the greatest band since the Velvets or merely spilled bong water?
Serene Dominic writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].