Contact Us    
Too Much Monkey Business

CD review: The Dandy Warhols’ Welcome to the Monkey House.

by Rod Scopint
January 24, 2004

Bookmark and Share

Too Much Monkey Business_Rod Scopint-CD review: The Dandy Warhols’ *Welcome to the Monkey House* The Dandy Warhols are one of the most interesting bands to come out in recent years. Though they blatantly borrow from many influences, the Dandys always seem to blend their own unique sound and style. Their 2000 effort, Thirteen Tales from Bohemia, is probably one of the best albums to come out in the last decade. So it is a little curious why their most recent effort, Welcome to the Monkey House, is so disappointing.

Monkey House starts off alright, with the cover parodying/combining their namesake’s two most famous album covers (Andy Warhol designed the Velvet Underground’s first album cover of a “peelable” banana and the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers zipper cover.) The title song is a short “warm-up” with studio noise and lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor just playing his guitar, lamenting the state of music. “When Michael Jackson dies/we’ll cover “Blackbird”/and won’t it be absurd then/when no one knows what song they just heard/unless someone on the radio tells them first.”

The band then launches into “We Used to Be Friends,” an infectious disco-flavored song with heavy synthesizers. It is a departure from the guitar-laden songs from earlier albums, but it is still 100% Dandys, with Taylor-Taylor’s voice betraying his indifferent lyrics (“a long time ago/we used to be friends/but I haven’t thought of you lately”). “We Used to Be Friends” is the standout track on this CD, and that’s part of the problem.

Taylor-Taylor doesn’t have the broadest singing range, but for most of this album he chooses to sing in a sort of breathy whisper, which is fine for two or three songs, but gets annoying through a whole album. Another problem is the Dandys rely on synthesizers much more than previous albums. Perhaps this is due to the influence of co-producer Nick Rhodes (keyboardist for Duran Duran). Whatever the reason, many of the songs are indistinguishable and seem to last longer than the listener would like.

Other than “We Used to Be Friends,” the only songs that really stick out are “I Am a Scientist,” a jab at those who hold science too dear, (“religiously I'm speaking on the science 'cause/we've gotta live on science alone”), the sarcastically named “The Dandy Warhols Love Almost Everyone,” and the Marc Bolan/T-Rex flavored “Rock Bottom.”

Ultimately the problem with Welcome to the Monkey House is the Dandy Warhols just don’t rock out. Rather they keep a mellow groove, which eventually bored this listener. The Dandy Warhols are one of few bands that seem interested in evolving, and while I did not enjoy this album as much as Thirteen Tales, I can admire them for at least trying something different. Hopefully this experiment in the hypnotic electronic yields better material in the future.

Post a Comment

Send Us Your Opinion
(Comments are moderated.)
Your Name:*

Your E-Mail Address:*
(Confidential. Will not be published.)


Note: In order to control automated spam submissions, URLs are no longer permitted in this form.

Please type the letters you see above.


Bookmark and Share

Sign up to receive an e-mail notice when new articles by this author are published. Your address remains confidential, and you may cancel at any time. A confirmation email will be sent.

Your e-mail address:
Too Much Monkey Business
po Books
Now Available!

Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

More Information.

More by Rod Scopint
A Tale of Two Bands
A review of the documentary film 'DIG!'
by Rod Scopint, 6/19/05
Simply A Good Debut
CD Review: Simple Kid's 1
by Rod Scopint, 7/18/04
Re-creating the Creation
Reliving 1966 through a great unknown Mod band.
by Rod Scopint, 9/19/02

Recently Published
View Article May I Be Frank, Mr. President?
Challenging a double standard in the Oval Office
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/15/17
Salvator Mundi
Not the painting but the Person
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/7/17
When the Newsman Becomes News
Lamenting yet another fallen hero
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 12/1/17
Let's Hear It for Moms and Pops
Celebrating Small Business Saturday in a very personal way
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/22/17
An Earthquake in La La Land
Examining what's been exposed in the rubble
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/17/17
Where is God?
Reflecting on the tragedy in a little Texas town
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/10/17
An All Saints Day Tribute
Remembering those who left us
by Greg Asimakoupoulos, 11/3/17

Get the Partial Observer's
'recently published' headlines via RSS.

RSS Feed for Recently Published PO Articles    What is RSS?

Reproduction of original material from The Partial Observer without written permission is strictly prohibited.
The opinions expressed by site contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the editors.
Copyright ©2000-2017 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.
Home · Site Map · Top