The Dandy Warhols – ‘Distortland’ [Review]
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The average band doesn’t make it past their first album. Sometimes the sophomore slump hits hard, sinking careers as that difficult second long-player either never gets released, or just blows instead of blowing up. Rarely, you’re talking three to four albums – but you’re talking really rarely.
Keeping the flame burning after ten albums is an impressive feat – and with Distortland, The Dandy Warhols have hit an all but unbelievable career landmark.
Distortland is one of The Dandy Warhols’ most focussed albums to date, aiming for as many poppy hooks as possible and often hitting the mark. This album is a definite musical melting pot, with everything from synthpop to garage rock, plaintive folky acoustica, and reverb-heavy synth hazes thrown into the mix. There are also some quality tunes, the most notable being STYGGO (or Sometimes You Gotta Get Over), which backs up four minutes of stripped-back indie-pop with a message worth hearing from vocalist Courtney Taylor-Taylor:
“The world is full of corporate billionaire scumbags who pollute the earth, kill wildlife, cause cancer, secretly running nations into the ground, and the moronic masses who just agree with their mindless slogans and will never fight the good fight to help to stop them, until finally the last blistered blind three armed mutant dregs of humanity eat each other’s putrid flesh in mankind’s final nauseating death throes. Some Things You Gotta Get Over.”
STYGGO proves its mettle over the course of repeated listens – and fans of indie, shoegaze, noisy garage rock, synthpop, and Britpop will get more than their money’s worth out of it. For me, the above genres aren’t normally my thing, but Distortland is still a decent album that deserves some recognition. That said, Distortland should honestly have been one song shorter; closer The Grow Up Song is truly terrible, a 1:41-length electric guitar and vocal song that sounds worse than a demo and could only charitably be called “intimate”. Beyond the near-indecipherable lyrics, it sounds like it’s supposed to be about the inevitable social comparisons that come with aging and watching your friends form families – but so much more could have been done there, and ending a vibrant, energetic album with the line “I’m too old for this shit” is the biggest downer imaginable.
Overall: A cool album ruined by an unlistenable career suicide note that completely spoils the vibe and destroys any positive memories of the songs that came before it. Why?
TMMP RATING: 57%
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