Music

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Album review: The Dandy Warhols, ‘Distortland’

Since their inception, the Dandy Warhols have always trafficked in in-jokes, from winking nods to/swipes at contemporaries in their songs to their very name. But “Distortland,” the band’s ninth album, sounds downright insular: fully formed, in its way, but nearly impenetrable. From the opening “Search Party” — a throb of murky guitar, piano, and the dissipated voice of Courtney Taylor-Taylor sustaining words until they fade into nothingness — tracks are covered in a wooze that the songs have a hard time crawling out of. It’s equally stifling to the metallic chunk of “Semper Fidelis” as it is to “Give,” a stately folk-pop song trapped in a haze. Some light shines through (and some air comes in) when “Distortland” is cracked into pieces and each track is consumed by itself. It lets “All the Girls in London” swing, and makes clear that the lushness of “Doves” is both oppressive and awfully close to graceful — a neat trick, even if the Dandy Warhols only pull it off once.

ESSENTIAL “Doves”

The Dandy Warhols perform at the Sinclair April 15.

Marc Hirsh can be reached at officialmarc@gmail.com.
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