Q Magazine's Welcome To The Monkey House review (4 out of 5 stars)

Q Magazine
Welcome To The Monkey House
by Rob Fearn

Ask most rock stars about their music turning up on a TV advert and they'll probably get defensive. Not The Dandy Warhols' Courtney Taylor-Taylor. After Vodafone went big with the swaggering Bohemian Like You, he responded to accusations of a sell-out in a way that could best be summarised as "show me the money".
Taylor-Taylor (almost certainly not the name that appears on his birth certificate) is undoubtedly quite a character. His kingsized personality has been a key ingredient in their success so far, always ready with a smart aleck putdown of Noel Gallagher or a disarmingly honest admission about his own drug guzzling. At the same time, their music has struggled to rise above pastiche: record-collection rock par excellence, there have been nods to the Rolling Stones' Brown Sugar here, Spiritualized's narcotic drone there.
On this fourth album, named after a short story collection by sci-fi author Kurt Vonnegut, the Oregon foursome have located themselves in a very different part of the drug-rock universe. No one could accuse The Dandy Warhols of taking the easy, fashionable route. Low key and distinctly electronic in feel, it winningly alludes to New Romantics, Bowie's cocaine-addled Station To Station and The Beloved's loved-up dance pop. So, while first single We Used To Be Friends is a worthy successor to Bohemian Like You, its explosive choruses are punctuated by clicky rhythms and handclaps. I Am Over It animates guitar fuzz and synth bloops with a distinctly robotic feel, while I Am Sound warms over Bowie's Ashes To Ashes for something wistful and otherworldly.
As synth-rock rebirths go, it's highly convincing, and credit must go to Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes, co-producer for much of the album. He's one of many celebrity fans drafted in, including Simon Le Bon, Chic's Neil Rogers and Evan Dando, who co-writes the album's best song, You Were The Last High. Whatever vague points the lyric is making about lost love and the loneliness of mass adulation are eclipsed by the song's almost spooky pop perfection. Even the noodly instrumental break is a joy.
Then they go an ruin it with the lumpy T.Rex-meets-BRMC posturing on Hit Rock Bottom. But that's The Dandy Warhols: often inspired, occasionally infuriating, and musical magpies to the core. If you want music that sounds like no one else, buy a Miles Davis record.