The Dandy Warhols: Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia

The Dandy Warhols: Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia

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The Dandy Warhols

Album: Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia

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There are plenty of reasons to dislike The Dandy Warhols' third album, Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia, before even hearing it. The titles of both the album, perhaps the most instantly off-putting since Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, and the first three songs ("Godless," "Mohammed," "Nietzsche") all suggest a group that's left its pretensions unchecked. The CD booklet only seems to confirm that suspicion, with full-page photos of the band members highlighting their varied piercings alongside a photo montage that conveys the unspeakable fun of being a Dandy Warhol through backstage shots, concert snaps, and other scraps of Warholia. But there's one great reason not to hate Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia: the album itself, an 800-pound gorilla of winning, eclectic rock 'n' roll. Singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor co-produces and handles the bulk of the songwriting chores, displaying skill and flexibility that allows Thirteen Tales to flow from the acoustic-guitar-driven space-rock of "Godless" to the country-blues of "Country Leaver" to the crunch of "Horse Pills." His songwriting pays tribute to past masters without coming off as slavishly derivative; instead, it's derivative in inventive ways. "Bohemian Like You," for example, features a bald-faced theft of the "Jumpin' Jack Flash" riff, but it compensates with a cool organ part and sheer drive. If the hipster excess promised by the title occasionally spills over into Taylor-Taylor's lyrics, and the disc outstays its welcome by a song or two, it hardly matters. Thirteen Tales may be the most joyous, instantly likable rock record you'll hear this year.

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