The Austin Chronicle

ACL Fest Interviews

By Melanie Haupt, September 19, 2003, Music

The Dandy Warhols

2pm, Saturday, HEB stage

With Welcome to the Monkey House (Capitol), Portland, Ore.-based quartet the Dandy Warhols, specialists in snide glam-pop for the past 10 years, have nearly out-cooled themselves, turning in a collection of songs that lacks the bitchy oomph of previous records. Guitarist Peter Holmstrom blames the band's overreliance on Pro Tools.

"It was a good and bad thing," he sighs. "It definitely gets in the way of the natural feeling of our music, because nothing is set. You can move anything anywhere. To me, the music on this record feels very chopped up. It doesn't actually flow, really."

Interestingly enough, Monkey House sports some of the most emotionally open songwriting in the Warhols' catalog, especially on the poignant "The Last High," in which a lover bids adieu to his latest love, the most potent drug he'll ever encounter.

"[Frontman] Courtney [Taylor-Taylor] is always in the middle of a big breakup when we're recording a record; this time it seemed to have hit him pretty hard," acknowledges Holmstrom.

Therein lies the paradox. Lyrically, the group has stepped away from its tongue-in-cheek playfulness, but ends up overproducing it so dramatically that the end result is an austere, chilly endeavor that sorely misses the organic rush of its predecessors.

"We needed to make a record on Pro Tools completely just so we'd learn how far you can go up your own asshole, I guess," says Holmstrom resignedly. "Hopefully we'll never do that again."

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