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Aural Pleasure Review

The Dandy Warhols: 'This Machine'

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By all logical accounts, the Dandy Warhols shouldn't still exist. The band miraculously survived '90s major-label alt-rock buzz and somehow avoided a drugged-out implosion a la the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The group has never been insanely successful and revered or radically ostracized and bashed. Perhaps the band's luck in neutrality is why This Machine isn't exactly a revelation or catastrophe but instead a mostly pleasant batch of songs. The Dandy Warhols simply sound like they're having fun on this release. The first half of the album is surprisingly effective at synthesizing the group's sprawling sound into concise rock songs with smart production and arrangements. Particularly, "Enjoy Yourself" and "Well They're Gone" stand out for cleverly dealing with the band's fading fame in a catchy and humorous way. The second half of the record is a little spottier. The sax-heavy arrangement on the band's cover of "16 Tons" is great but would more effectively serve an original. Similarly, "I Am Free" and "SETI vs. The Wow! Signal" sound like They Might Be Giants without the humor. However, the album's closing tracks remind us that even though This Machine isn't particularly substance heavy, it can often be a whole lot of fun.

★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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