The kids grow up so fast these days. Back in 1967, those nice Beatle boys had taken five years and about a dozen albums to reach the stage of enlightenment and evolution where they could confidently create their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It's taken Courtney Taylor the same number of years and just three releases with the Dandy Warhols to unleash his version of the psychedelic groundbreaker here at the fork in the millennium. Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia is astonishing in its maturity and vision, coming from a band that is so young and so purposefully aimless.
Bohemia comes on the heels of the Dandys' 1997 quasihit, "Not if You Were the Last Junkie on Earth" from their Capitol debut, The Dandy Warhols Come Down, a lovely bit of guitar-washed, acid-drenched jet trash. For Bohemia the Dandies have tossed all their influences onto the sonic canvas with a Jackson Pollacklike fervor, and although the result is somewhat disjointed, it remains fascinating and satisfying. The album yields references to sugary '60s pop ("Sleep"), '70s new wave by way of the Cars ("Solid," "Shakin'"), and '80s Cult-like crunch ("Horse Pills," "Nietzsche"). Taylor sings like Iggy and swings like Ray Davies on "Country Leaver," while the band gives the track an acoustic-blues makeover. With the one-two punch of openers "Godless" and "Mohammed" and the album's first single, "Bohemian Like You," the Dandies make a case for themselves in the We're-the-American-Blur competition (as if they had any) and generally leave little doubt that the Velvet Underground slept here.
With barely a gasp of breath between tracks, Bohemia steams along from beginning to end, a solid conceptual block of contemporary but classically familiar acoustic-electric psychedelia. On all of their albums in general and on Bohemia in particular, the Dandy Warhols have shamelessly and artfully borrowed from history to make their own.