“I sneeze and hits come out,” Courtney Taylor-Taylor infamously declared in the 2002 documentary Dig!, but the truth is a little more complicated. His band The Dandy Warhols seems to treat its insanely catchy singles (“Bohemian Like You,” etc.) as novelties, as if semi-hits undercut credibility. 2003’s Welcome To The Monkey House is probably the best thing The Dandys ever did—all unrepentant synth-pop with the bass pumped up to club levels. (It’s appropriate, in the best possible way, that Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes contributed.) As it turns out, Monkey House is a case of record-company meddling gone right: For the second release on their own label, the Warhols have unearthed their original, preferred mix, and it isn’t nearly as strong. The entire track list has been reshuffled, for starters: The spacey come-down closer “Burned” is now first, and the interminable experimental exercise “Pete International Airport”—all 12-plus minutes—has been appended to the end. This mix, by soul engineer Russell Elavedo (D’Angelo, The Roots) is basically a tasteful killjoy. The bass is reduced to human levels, most of the synths are purged, and the drums sound thin and trembly. The first Monkey House is full of consistently aggressive hook-mongering; this version is all deliberately becalmed jamming and repetition. As a compare/contrast sample, it’s fascinating; as entertainment, it’s wearisome for anyone not already committed to the Warhols.
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