Iconic indie band The Dandy Warhols take us on a psychedelic journey with the release of their experimental four hour LP, Tafelmuzik Means More When You’re Alone. Their eleventh studio album hits listeners with innovative sound patterns that blur the boundaries of standard album formations, creating a wonderful and fluid ride.
An unlikely mix of instruments work together to create this unique album for long-time fans and a new generation of indie and alternative music lovers. Originating in 1994 in Portland, Oregon with Courtney Taylor-Taylor on vocals and guitar, Zia McCabe on keyboard, Peter Holmstrom on guitar and more recently, Brent DeBoer on drums, the band incorporates alternative indie rock with dream and psych pop vibes.
This album is like no other modern indie release and contains combinations of all The Dandy Warhols uniqueness plus the extra element of “tafelmusik” style. Penned in the mid-16th century, “tafelmusik”, translated “table-music” was played during banquets. Inspired by this, The Dandy Warhols have built a continuous 10 track album with the most hypnotic and addictively droning, off-kilter and creatively rebellious sounds.
Ranging from 30-minute tracks to 7-minute ones, the album has listeners sonically engaged and, on their toes, as they journey through what feels like the aural version of the Willy Wonka tunnel. day off has the sounds of singing bowls, dripping taps and rhythmic drums that weave through 80’s synth beats. Echoing verses allow listeners to slowly make their way to the next track, fittingly named another day off, where you could almost picture yourself floating on a cloud as chimes set into the track and shift the mood into an upbeat electro-funk tune.
it’s the end o is ironically the first song, with its name an ode to the loop-like album style. It introduces listeners to the electronic organ as a feature instrument used by the band as the base sound in this easy-listening track and throughout the album, procuring a simultaneously ominous and light-hearted atmosphere. arts and crafts steers away from the bands indie rock sounds. The band embraces erratic, jarring, piercing and deep undertones used in arts and crafts, making this the most memorable track for me.
zia rolls another gives us a weird and wonderful drumbeat, laced with rare French vocals (only vocals in the entire album) spoken by The New York Dolls’ Sylvain Sylvain. McCabe’s keyboard is fittingly highlighted in this track, which is understandable given the song is named after the artist. The tenth and final track, the after bath, feels like the song that plays when credits roll at the end of a wacky stop animation film and has you grooving until the final second.
The Dandy Warhols have successfully created a surrealist and unforgettable listening experience. The band have unconventionally matched music styles from multiple decades and mashed them up into an open-minded and experimental album. With fun instrumental pairings and almost non-existent lyrics incorporated into Tafelmuzik Means More When You’re Alone, this positively stands out as one of the most unique albums I’ve ever heard.
Album Review By Zara Zampaglione