100 Greatest Albums of the 90’s: #6

The Dandy Warhols – The Dandy Warhols Come Down
Yes, that’s them: the ‘Bohemian Like You’ guys. They weren’t just primordial ooze before that song. The Dandy Warhols have made some corkers in their time and here, my dear, is their first classic. Their debut ‘Dandys Rule OK’ was good, but ‘Come Down’ took their conceptual ideas, sonic experimentation and songwriting to unforeseen highs. Lost in the fog between coherency and trippy blurs, it stumbles from a hangover from the opening minute, in which it sounds like it’s groping for a pair of glasses and an Alka-Seltzer, at which point it wakes up properly. And boy oh boy does it wake up. It’s a brilliant, original sound, clearly influenced by (but never too close to) Bowie, The Velvets, The Stones and the like, but it’s a sound that’s so clearly their own which makes it all the more impressive. The songs vary from the raucous singalongs, psychedelic freak-outs, slow-building epics and half-alive headache-y throbs. This is a record where your favourite track seems to change daily. No member is invisible (stop laughing). Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s songwriting is peerless and his delivery is effortlessly cool. Brent DeBoer’s drums are never too showy, but are always solid and anchoring. Peter Holstrom’s guitars are as spellbinding as ever whether they’re swimming in a fuzzy mist or crunching crisply out of the speaker. For my money though, the most undervalued player here is the brilliant Zia McCabe on keyboards: she plays them simple and to the point, but you’d really miss them if they weren’t there. There’s great pop songs in here, like the snide ‘Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth’ – whose “heroin is so passé” chorus will be buzzing in your head for days – and hedonism anthem ‘Every Day Should Be A Holiday’ which sounds like it could soundtrack a mass-stampede out of schools and workplaces. ‘Orange’ is the sound of a room full of people burning out, slumped against the wall, while ‘I Love You’ is like an semi-conscious, uncomfortable romantic encounter with someone you barely know. The album closes with two experiments: the first is ‘Pete International Airport’, Holstrom’s ambient piece of distant murmurs, growing guitar noise and twinkling loops. The second is ‘The Creep Out’, a jam session in which a single riff is drilled into the ground until it becomes hypnotic and almost medicinal in a weird way. ‘Come Down’ is a rarity in that it sounds great when you’ve got company over, but equally great when you got lost in it on your own. The Dandys may have bettered it with their third record, but ‘Come Down’ is only a gnat’s toenail away from genius. And another thing, it refuses to get old. It’s been a staple of my hi-fi for two years and counting.
Listen to: Good Morning

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