Sound — 4
Four psychedelic power-synthy-whatever else-poppers from Portland, Oregon, released an album and made the music world go "Why?" Why there isn't a catchy song here? Why their previous album was tight and tuneful and this one has none of those? Why almost all songs are awfully long? But let's start from the very beginning. Space guitars, tribal drums, trumpets, dog growls, rattling acoustic guitars, orchestral squealing ?- mix it with a bunch of unidentifiable sounds and you'll get "Odditorium Or Warlords Of Mars" -- The Dandy Wharhols' firth album. Jagged guitar riffs and lazy grooves define the free-jazz mood of the record. The album starts with A&E host Bill Kurtis, playing a part of an old radio newsreader fellow, who is convincing us in a rich Midwestern baritone "You're listening to a piece of history." The track, entitled "Colder Than The Coldest Winter Was Cold" is actually a parody of the Dandies, pretending to be world-famous rockers - according to it, they invented rock'n'roll back in 1950. The beginning lets you hope for a good performance and is quite promising. There goes the first surprise -? the nine-and-a-half-minute opener "Love The Is The New Feel Awful" drifts away after two minutes and the next seven minutes you just wonder what the hell happened to the end and if that's another song and you just didn't realize when the last one finished. It also features familiar "Soul Man" horn sound to catch your ear, but more likely it makes your poor ears want to roll close and never open again. The first single from the album "Smoke It" is one those rare radio-friendly songs and is only 4:40 (good Lord). There are some wild hooks in this country-style song, but unfortunately there's no way you're not gonna notice the similarities between it the and The Hives' "Hate to Say I Told You So." Riffs and megaphone vocals "People got more baggage than JFK/And I'm not talkin' 'bout the airport" make it obvious. Another mainstream song is space rock "Down Like Disco." The only reminder of the impressive 2003's "Welcome to the Monkeyhouse" is the hooky synth-pop "Everyone Is Totally Insane." Most of other tracks are unremarkable. Even if the song starts really good and it seems there's some kind of mood, it looses everything after the two-minutes barrier, turning out to be just another long noodle. The album is like a paint of some artist, who already did a few masterpieces and everybody knows it's not gonna be bad, but surprisingly it's not impressive either.
Lyrics — 7
Courtney Taylor-Taylor hid his voice behind electronic effects, whispering and mumbling in most songs. The lyrics are way better, then music. Continuing the traditions, songs are full of sarcastic jokes, like "All The Money Or The Simple Life Honey," where pop fame is compared to useless American dream. Or "Did You Make A Song With Otis" -? a song about beer and "poopy" turning a guitar. Nothing deep, but that may make you smile a couple of times.
Overall Impression — 5
The first part of the album title ?- "Odditorium" -? is what the Dandies call their studio and the best way to describe these 12 tracks put together. The society is lost in wonders -- maybe they're just tired of making really good records? Anyway, that band can afford making whatever they want and then make people listen to it. I give them a credit for doing what they want, not looking back on what's gonna be popular and without any formulas. Therefore the album is very unfocused and is not more, then a mish-mash of everything the band did before. The disappointing part is that The Dandy Warhols may sound tighter and more interesting, than on this album. They have talent to make great records and "Odditorium Or Warlords Of Mars" seems just like a jeer to their fans. Good thing about it -? they make it so effortlessly cool, that it doesn't bug you or get on your nerves, but doesn't impress you either. It just goes by. In an interview, where Courtney Taylor-Taylor made questions for himself and then answered them, he says, that they started a band to make music to drink to. With the current album I guess they finally came to that point. "Odditorium Or Warlords Of Mars" is a good record to listen to smoking water pipe in the chill-out zone of some night club ?- it might make a wonderful background to your thoughts about the universe. This way you're in one mood with the Dandies and there's a possibility you can even get why they put 4-minute improvisations and guitar mutilations at the end of almost every song.