Put it down to extremely tight pants or just big balls, but The Dandy Warhols continue to prove they’ve got the minerals on This Machine. Eight studio albums spanning eighteen years, each with varying degrees of success, hasn’t prevented the Portland quartet from remaining the darlings of festival circuits worldwide and the envy of many career musicians. No doubt they can still party with the best of them and as for the sound, well they’re not sitting still in that department either.
A driving bass line and snappy snare kickstarts proceedings, as screeching guitars threaten to blow open Sad Vacation under Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s composed and clean vocal. The Autumn Carnival will please fans of the band’s hit singles as Taylor-Taylor’s soothing, throaty, whimper seduces fervently. Breaking things apart is a rather blatant show of self-realisation in Enjoy Yourself. Rest Your Head and I Am Free equally as reflective on the effects ‘this machine’ has had on four spirited and optimistic souls. What stands out on This Machine is the influence of the guitars’ effects, the seemingly limitless vocal variations Taylor-Taylor emanates throughout and the uplifting inclusion of horns.
A symbolic album cover: free-flying bird, luscious native landscape, Guild six-string sitting atop a tree stump amid weathered antlers and a discarded tin labelled with The Dandy Warhols’ iconic, peeled banana is perhaps another sign that these guys have turned the focus away from image and instead on the source of their creative energy. Timely.
**** 4 stars