Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Album review: This Machine - The Dandy Warhols (+video)

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The Dandy Warhols. Photo / Supplied
The Dandy Warhols. Photo / Supplied

Here's how hip the Dandy Warhols are: They have awesome haircuts, they once had a hit in the 90s called Bohemian Like You, and they're from Portland.

If it wasn't for their constantly sour demeanour, they could even be a made-up band from hilarious hipster skit show Portlandia.

So it might surprise those that knew the band from their 90s heyday (sing along now: "And I like you, I like you, I'm feeling so bohemian like you") that they're not only still a going concern, they're also up to album No. 8.

This Machine is a more laid-back, stripped-down affair than previous records and varies wildly in quality, from the broody minimalism of opener Sad Vacation to the instrumental synth-rock of Alternative Power To the People and the bad bar room stinker 16 Tons.

They're still capable of crafting delicious slices of alt-pop ear candy, like the warped space romp Seti vs the Wowi Signal, and Flaming Lips ripoff The Autumn Carnival - a song on which frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor's breathy vocal style actually works.

But This Machine is an album let down by the quartet's desperate need to cling to their own individuality, summed up in I Am Free's cheesy chorus ("I am free, there's music inside of me") and out-of-place horn-drenched pop.

This Machine proves the Dandy Warhols are still an exercise of style over substance, and maybe just a little too hip for their own good.

Stars: 3/5
Verdict: Still style over substance on eighth album.


- NZ Herald

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