The Dandy Warhols, ‘Sad Vacation’ – Song Review
The Dandy Warhols are gearing up for the April release of ‘This Machine,’ their first album since 2009’s ‘The Dandy Warhols Are Sound,’ and earlier this month offered its first single, ‘Well They’re Gone,’ as a free download on the band’s official website. Now the veteran neo-psychedelic rockers are treating fans to ‘Sad Vacation,’ which is being slated as the disc’s second single.
“Um, Nirvana and the Sisters of Mercy,” frontman Courtney Taylor Taylor told us when we asked about what influenced the sound of the new album.” “Yipes, I think I can honestly call that a true statement.” It’s an odd pairing, of course, but actually very apt, especially on ‘Sad Vacation.’ That goes right along with what he’s said in previous interviews — the disc’s sonic blueprint is an amalgam of grunge and goth — and both the overdriven, grungy Nirvana guitars and the dark, ominous vibe of New Wave vets Sisters of Mercy are touchstones.
‘Sad Vacation’ starts off with a taut fuzz-bass progression and a rocking, up-tempo beat, with guitar feedback ever-so-slightly drifting in and out of earshot. Taylor-Taylor’s vocals come in before the guitar picks up, repeating each line once (“And then you get me right down to the crawl / One more lesson now that’s all / Yeah yeah yeah yeah”) per verse and then repeating each verse before his trebly, reverb-drenched fretwork winds its way into the mix.
There’s definitely momentum propelling the whole thing, but it never really builds past the tipping point. Instead, it sounds more like a wandering jam — but in the best possible way. Those famous quiet-loud Seattle Sound dynamics are replaced by a steady psych-rock flow that’s just off-kilter enough to keep things interesting. Just like the sad end to a vacation, it’s over before you realize it, leaving you wanting more.
Check back soon for the rest of our conversation with Taylor-Taylor, and don’t be surprised if another track or two from ‘Machine’ surface before the disc drops. In the meantime, treat yourself to a sonic vacation — you deserve it.
Listen to ‘Sad Vacation’ by the Dandy Warhols