The acclaimed documentary DiG! spotlighted the late 1990s ascent of pretentious psych-lite outfit the Dandy Warhols, but by the time the film hit theaters in 2004, the band was on a slippery descent. Having alienated fans with the new-wave redux of Welcome to the Monkey House, the group was gearing up for 2005's sprawling experimental disasterpiece, Odditorium or Warlord of Mars, that led to the Dandys getting dropped by Capitol. For the band's first album on its own Beat the World imprint, Courtney Taylor-Taylor and company attempt a return to warped power-pop, with mixed results. "The World the People Together (Come On)" kicks off the proceedings, matching a propulsive bassline to an atmospheric swirl of synths, layered guitar, and tubular bells. But the good vibe doesn't stay established long, as Taylor-Taylor's ridiculously affected vocals quickly derail the electropop "Mission Control" and the cartoonish aping of disco-era David Bowie on "Welcome to the Third World." This pattern repeats throughout the album. Every time the Dandys offer a flash of quality, as on the dissonant freakout of "Wasp in the Lotus," the band gets convinced of its own genius and churns out more insipid lyrics (the egregious pharmaceutical ode "Valerie Yum") or blatantly rips off a classic song (the shameless rewrite of Status Quo's "Pictures of Matchstick Men" as "Talk Radio"). Earth to the Dandy Warhols almost takes flight, but in the end gets grounded by Taylor-Taylor and his ponderous ego.
Sat., Sept. 27, 8 p.m., 2008