Odditorium or Warlords of Mars [CD & DVD]

Odditorium or Warlords of Mars [CD & DVD]

by The Dandy Warhols
     
 

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The Dandy Warhols have forged a career out of making catchy, danceable retro rock, racking up numerous hits in Europe though they've been virtually ignored on their American home turf. But as the saner of the two rock bands featured in the Sundance-winning documentary DIG!, the

Overview

The Dandy Warhols have forged a career out of making catchy, danceable retro rock, racking up numerous hits in Europe though they've been virtually ignored on their American home turf. But as the saner of the two rock bands featured in the Sundance-winning documentary DIG!, the Dandy Warhols are probably at an all-time high in terms of public awareness. When we last heard them, on 2003's Welcome to the Monkey House, they had ditched the Stonesy riffs that were their bread-'n'-butter in favor of '80s new wave and synth pop -- a winning transformation that led to their best record to date. With tongues firmly planted in cheeks on Odditorium, they greet their burgeoning audience with a joke. The album opens with the voice of former newscaster Bill Curtis, who provides an absurdist introduction, parodying his gig as host of A&E's Biography. But then the shaker kicks in, and it's apparent that the Dandy Warhols have reverted to more familiar territory, as if Monkey House never existed. Odditorium or Warlords of Mars is the band's loosest album yet -- a vibe stemming from the disc's genesis at their own studio-rehearsal space, where they recorded on their own time and with no outside producer. It's obvious they were having fun, and the enthusiasm they bring to groovy numbers like "Love Is the New Feel Awful," the shout-along "Smoke It," and "All the Money or the Simple Life Honey" is infectious. At times, however, the album is a bit too loose, and it's a bit too long -- three songs needlessly stretch past seven minutes. Yet frontman Courtney Taylor's breathy vocals, snarky lyrics, and melodic sensibilities keep Odditorium on track and ensure that the Dandys' skewed charm remains firmly in evidence.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Heather Phares
Although Dig! covered the symbiotic, love-hate relationship between the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre more than thoroughly enough, more proof that the Dandies still want to be taken as seriously as the Massacre's misunderstood genius Anton Newcombe arrives with Odditorium or Warlords of Mars, an album that's half-inspired, half-embarrassing, and completely self-indulgent. As if the title weren't enough warning, Odditorium's opening track, "Colder Than the Coldest Winter Was Cold" -- in which A&E announcer/journalist Bill Kurtis explains how the Dandy Warhols invented rock & roll "after the great war" -- gets things off to a strange start. Unfortunately, in this case strange doesn't mean interesting or good. Odditorium is bookended by two of the most meandering, pointless tracks the band has ever recorded. "Love Is the New Feel Awful" is merely a song that could've been good if it weren't bloated with several minutes' worth of fruitless noodling. It's the closer, "A Loan Tonight," with its irritating, oddly strangled vocals, clunky keyboards, and listless guitars that go on and on for nearly 12 minutes, that is so infuriatingly bad you wish you could somehow un-hear it, and maybe the rest of the album while you're at it. Which is a shame, because the middle stretch of Odditorium has more than a few tracks that rank with the band's best work. "Down Like Disco" and "All the Money or Is It the Simple Honey" show off their skills as a smart, satirical pop group, while moody, hungover ballads like "Holding Me Up" and "Everyone Is Totally Insane" make emptiness seem profound. Meanwhile, "Easy," a slinky, hypnotic track that builds on a simple groove, and "There Is Only This Time," a spacious meditation with close harmonies and brass flourishes, balance the Dandies' pop and experimental leanings far better than anywhere else on the album. Taken as a whole, Odditorium is scattered and half-baked (in more ways than one), but its best moments are ripe for adding to play lists and mixtapes. Something this indulgent could only be a labor of love, but even die-hard Dandy Warhols fans might find embracing this album to be too much work. [Odditorium or Warlords of Mars was also available with a bonus DVD featuring live performances of "Rave Up," "Get Off," and "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth" from Spain's 2004 Benicassim Festival, as well as videos for "Smoke It," "Plan A," and "Scientist."]

Product Details

Release Date:
09/13/2005
Label:
Capitol
UPC:
0094633683327
catalogNumber:
36833

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Dandy Warhols   Primary Artist
Gregg Williams   Percussion,Guest Appearance
John Fell   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Ray Gordon   Guest Appearance
Michelle Loew   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Lockett Allbritton   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Achilleas Anastasopolis   Trumpet,Guest Appearance
Eric Early   Banjo,Guest Appearance
Sean Gothman   Accompaniment,Guest Appearance
Travis Hendricks   Trombone,Guest Appearance
Herb Kirshrot   Accordion,Guest Appearance
MC Bill Kurtis   Spoken Word,Guest Appearance
Mattress & Travis   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Caleb Spiegel   Vocals,Guest Appearance

Technical Credits

Steven Birch   Collage
Clark Stiles   Producer,Collage
Gregg Williams   Producer,Engineer
Scott Young   Artwork
Peter Holmstrom   Collage
Brent DeBoer   Collage
Ray Gordon   Collage,Cover Photo
Michelle Loew   Collage
Sean Gothman   Contributor,Collage
Travis Grassman   Collage
Zia Grassman   Collage
Kellie Pederson   Collage
Krystal South   Collage
Courtney Taylor-Taylor   Composer,Producer

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