The Dandy Warhols | The Capitol Years: 1995-2007

Capitol (2010)
By JEFF TAMARKIN  |  August 18, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars


There's some irony in the generic title of this 15-track retrospective, given that the Dandy Warhols' relationship with the label got off to a rocky start, Capitol rejecting what would have been the band's first release for the major and sending them back to the studio. In retrospect, that proved to be a wise decision, since the earliest music recorded by the Portland-based Dandys for Capitol is their most resilient.

The first four tracks here, taken from 1997's The Dandy Warhols Come Down, are gems, among them the collection opener, "Boys Better," as perfectly sculpted a pop trifle as any. And few bands could build a hummable ditty around a concept as bleak as "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth," but these guys pulled it off.

But the Dandys, like most bands, didn't stay in one place for long, and the lure of shiny pop melodies, though never far from the surface, began to give way to a wider orbit of sonic influences by 2000's Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia. By the time it all winds down, with a set of meandering tracks from 2005's Odditorium or Warlords of Mars, the band's promise has dissipated, lead Dandy Courtney Taylor-Taylor's tunes no longer saying much and barely masking their blatant echoes of Velvets, Stones, and other not-so-original sources of inspiration. A random new recording — "This Is the Tide," no doubt included to snag the completists — does nothing to reverse that decline. The Capitol Years sums up an era in the band's life, but it doesn't leave much hope for whatever's next.

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