Album: The Dandy Warhols **

Welcome to the Monkey House, Parlophone
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The Independent Culture

Blanket ad-break exposure of "Bohemian Like You" may have saddled The Dandy Warhols with expectations that, judging by Welcome to the Monkey House, they have no intention of even trying to fulfil. The delirious, irreverent blend of satire, Stones riffs, Krautrock, psychedelia and pastiche that constituted 2000's Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia has been largely abandoned here in favour of electro-pop and techno-rock exercises of rather more limited charm. That, I suppose, is what you get for letting a member of Duran Duran (Nick Rhodes) co-produce your album – that, and backing vocals from Simon le Bon. It may, of course, be a calculated attempt to ride the alleged "electroclash" wave – a phenomenon that remains, as yet, more theoretical than actual. Whatever the reason, it's a sizeable disappointment, with only "We Used to Be Friends", "Plan A" and the loping T Rex-style boogie "Hit Rock Bottom" featuring hooks with anything like the appeal of "Bohemian Like You". Courtney Taylor-Taylor's lyrics, too, are comparatively starved of the droll barbs which marked their last album – indeed, apart from the occasional line such as "I've learnt I slowly became some 'why' you live with" and "Now I am alone but adored by a hundred thousand more" (the latter in "You Were the Last High", co-written by Evan Dando), there's less wit in the songs than in the cover painting, which cheekily references two Andy Warhol sleeve designs (Sticky Fingers and the first Velvet Underground album) in one. Sadly, it flatters to deceive.

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