For eons, human beings have recognized the powerful effects that sound can have upon their minds and bodies. Mothers discover that singing softly to their babes helps lull them to sleep. Scientists have found that white noise, the sound that accompanies your television’s snow storm, can quiet jumpy nerves and actually improve concentration. Rumors abound that the government has long been looking into developing a sonic weapon capable of killing cleanly (as explored by Kate Bush in “Experiment IV”). Hard evidence exists that extremely high frequency sound can cause seizures and that a rumbling low-end can make you shit your pants (a favorite topic of Diamanda Galás). Doctors recently demonstrated that surgery patients who chose their own music to be sliced by had lower blood pressure during the procedure and a better recovery.

Even so, mere mortals have yet to unlock the secret connection between music and libido stimulation.

But The Dandy Warhols have.

The Portland quartet has apparently found the formula needed to produce orgasms by sound alone and they’ve laid it all out on their sophomore CD …The Dandy Warhols Come Down..

After stints in The Beauty Stab and Nero's Rome, Courtney Taylor, who looks as if he just stepped out of Details, built the perfect vessel for his slick and stimulating musical visions. With the immaculate Peter Holmstrom on additional guitar, cute alternagirl Zia McCabe tickling the electronic ivory, and the money-back guarantee drumming of Eric Hedford, The Dandy Warhols jumped to life and caused several cases of whiplash throughout Portland. Tim/Kerr Records quickly snatched up the band and released their first single, “Little Drummer Boy” in 1994. Dues were paid rapidly as The Dandy's stunned audiences, with their sexy, psychedelic sounds, tripnotic light shows, and onstage shenanigans which typically involved various members of the band removing various articles of their clothing. Flying as high as the best of kites, they went into the studio and came out with Dandy’s Rule OK in ’95. The album’s first single, “TV Theme Song” was an undeniably catchy, sticky-sweet slice of brightly spinning pop that served as their wake-up call to a nation hip deep in angry, flannel-clad boys with guitars and dirty hair.

And they rode the wave in fine form. There was no stopping The Dandys. Virtually every music rag had something to say about them (though not always glowing) and their image was inescapable. Although the Rolling Stone pic was likely their biggest photo feather, a naked Taylor with a lipstick “Kings of Pop” credo written across his chest graced the cover of the sadly defunct Paperback Jukebox and best displayed their media acumen. The stories of drug and sex-fueled recreation became the stuff of legend – the band was on fire.

Eventually, it was time to put out a new album. The course of events is best summed up by the band itself. “At the time of ...Rule OK’s release, there was this big industry buzz about the northwest and we got swept up by it. We had every major label A & R person and their mom following us around. If you know us, you know that we can be quite excessive and big moochers so, naturally we rode this pony for everything it was worth; free meals, plane rides, hotel rooms, and much, much more. Eventually we ran out of A & R people willing to fund our entertainment, so we chose the best record label we could find to sign with: Capitol. They gave us loads of cash and it was a big party. We all have healthy egos anyway but at this point we thought that we could do no wrong.”

Which is not what Capitol thought.

Upon submitting their sophomore effort to Capitol’s top brass, the label listened respectfully, put its hands together and curtly declared, “There are no songs.” Whether a valid opinion or not (and those running on rock’s deep inside track firmly disagree), the band was sent back into the studio with producer Tony Lash (who co-produced …Rule OK) to try again.

And they hit the nail dead center.

To say that …The Dandy Warhols Come Down is lush is like saying that the ice age was a slightly chilly time or that the invention of the wheel marginally affected humanity.

Guitars are piled on top of more guitars, the drums speak like an excited and intelligent child, the synthesizer chimes in from outer space and Taylor’s voice struts through a fog of opium. The album’s first single, “Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth” is rapidly gaining steam and will certainly be spinning out of control all summer long. The song, which admonishes heroin addiction (Taylor admits to being on somewhat distant yet friendly terms with tar) is quite simply the most perfectly constructed and executed instant pop classic to come our way in quite some time. You can bet that soon we will see legions of stylish kids smiling and bobbing their pierced heads while singing the opening “I never thought you’d be a junkie/Because heroin is so passé.” It’s addictive as all hell and should drive the folks nuts. In other words, it’s going to be huge. And there’s plenty more where that came from.

The following “Every Day Should Be A Holiday” sounds like a stoned Duran Duran swimming through space and the two tunes taken together serve as a one-two combination punch at the album’s heart.

Everything about …The Dandy Warhols Come Down speaks of unbridled self indulgence and uncapped sensuality. The seduction starts off with an assortment of light sounds that are like a hesitant lovers’ breath upon your face. As the mellow guitars creep in, the sonic enticer gets warmer and closer, as if deciding when and where to kiss. When all the elements come together, flesh meets flesh, and your new, private lover wraps its luscious lips firmly around your entire head. By the time the celestial synth slides in between the sheets, everything is spinning in glorious, full-body-contact circles. Taken alone, “Be-In” could get even the most frigid off. But there are another baker’s dozen affairs to be had. “Minnasoter” puts a bit of playfulness into the sexual swirl with its slightly warped volleys of sound and Taylor delivering the lyrical riddle as if from behind a thin sheet of cloudy Plexiglas. The following “Orange” provides a brief and breathy refractory period before “I Love You” arouses again via methodical repetition and a deep yet gentle grind. “Good Morning” eloquently fuses The Velvet Underground to Bowie while the following “Whipping Tree” is a completely unhurried ambient bite of ambrosia. While the right-wing will likely be up in arms over “Hard On For Jesus” those with anything between the ears and their legs won’t be able to control their grins or their hips. “Pete International Airport” provides another rest stop and you’ll need it in order to take full advantage of “The Creep Out”’s instrumental elastic romp in the nylon hay which signals the end of the session. But the play button is right there for you. And you’ll use it repeatedly.

In the dangerous and uncertain climate of modern sexuality, we are all searching for creative and, of course, safe ways to get off. You need look no further than The Dandy Warhols.



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