The Dandy Warhols’ smug bravado and self-regard has had a habit of making them less than aurally approachable in recent releases; 2005’s self-indulgent Odditorium Or Warlords Of Mars – an insouciant soiree of mindless musical meanderings – resulted in a loss of fan affiliates buying into the esoteric delirium and, consequently, the patronage of Capitol Records.
Earth To The Dandy Warhols sees an effrontery return to form for Courtney Taylor-Taylor as singer, songwriter and producer for the Portland, Oregon quartet. In the wake of Ondi Timoner’s DiG! (2004’s documentary film detailing The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s rise and fall within the record industry, and the love-hate relationship between the two bands), Earth To… resurrects their existence with an album of constructed and maturing opulence. The self-released follow-up to Odditorium… on Beat The World Records, The Dandys continue to endeavour with a psychedelic space-based concept in place of their earlier pop-sensibilities; however, where Odditorium… alienated with its obscurities, Earth To… reins in intrigue and celestial craftsmanship.
Album opener ‘The World The People Together (Come On)’ sparkles with traditional Dandy-pop delights; Courtney’s pitch perfect falsetto flutters amongst a blend of mid-Nineties camp disco delights before falling into the lower vocal range of ‘Mission Control’ and its Numan-inspired haunting simplicity.
Earth To… does have its moments of reverting back to their resonating sound and grounding of The Dandy Warhols Come Down’ and ‘Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia’ (the sultry shoegaze of ‘Talk Radio’ and the rousing ‘Now You Love Me); however, it is their interminable ability to shift between a diverse retrospective of influences with forward thinking audacity and orchestration that makes this album something to revere: from the Bowie white boy funk of ‘Welcome To The Third World’ and its sardonic narrative; to the sing-along sunshine simplicity of ‘Mis Amigos’; to ‘The Legend Of The Last Of The Outlaw Truckers AKA The Ballad Of Sheriff Shorty’ and its Nick Cave-esque sotto voce, their ability to amalgamate a number of musical fields seamlessly into one and other is something else.
Earth To… albeit impressive as it is diverse and intertwining does not escape impunity from its quasi-psychedelic trips: whereas the majority of the 13 track noise pop experiment is nothing but endearing, the monotonous drivel of ‘Valerie Yum’ and ‘Musee D’ Nougat’ closing the album are superfluous to its artistry.
The interminable creativity and experimental elements that entwine each track enables Earth To… to transcend any average comeback album; in a display of resilience and unwillingness to conform to the predispositions of commercial valuing, their liberation from major label shackles has resulted in one of their most impressive pieces of work to date.