13 Tales From Urban Bohemia
, the third album from the Dandy Warhols, has the band departing from the degenerate slacker psychedelia of their previous works. Well, mostly. From the first three tracks of Urban Bohemia
, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's business as usual for the Dandys. However, when the slide guitar (and, yes, banjo) of "Country Leaver" kicks in, it's clear that Courtney Taylor is taking his Portland, Oregon-based band somewhere different. From that point, the album changes tack and becomes one of the catchiest--and sardonic--American rock albums in recent memory. "Solid" is all upbeat harmonies about the joy of getting over a previous lover, while "Horse Pills"--which starts with Taylor's deadpan and indifferent command to "kick it"--is all big, fuzzy guitars and hip-hop beats wielded against too-rich, silicon-and-valium-addicted divorcées. Easy targets, to be sure, but it's when the Dandys focus their attention on wannabe artsy types on "Bohemian Like You" that this album truly proves its worth, with a guitar riff lifted straight off of the Rolling Stones, backed by some Hammond organ and one of the catchiest sing-along choruses since Pulp's "Common People"
. With obvious influences ranging from Lou Reed to the Cult to Adam and the Ants, 13 Tales From Urban Bohemia
is a classic, and classy, rock album. --Robert Burrow