The Dandy Warhols, "The Dandy Warhols ARE Sound"

Album Review
3.5

The opening track of the Dandy Warhols' 2003 album, "Welcome to the Monkey House," contains the lyrics, "When Michael Jackson dies, we're covering 'Blackbird,' " referring to the Paul McCartney-penned song whose copyrights were owned by the late King of Pop. So it's fortunate-or unfortunate, depending on your view of morbid publicity-that this is the only track excluded from this alternate version of the 2003 set, mixed by Russell Elavedo (the Roots, Common, Alicia Keys). "Monkey House" was the band's experiment in '80s synth-rock, and with Elavedo's touch, the razor-sharp, reflective edges of the album's space-age cogs are smoothed and rounded, with the bright-hot electro-pop brought closer to loungey funk. New versions of tracks like "The Last High" and "I Am Sound" strip away the bulk of high-end vocal effects and synth embellishment, leaving more air for expressive interplay among the electronic, acoustic and organic elements of the arrangements. Without the robotic urgency of "Monkey House," "ARE Sound" gets the swing and psychedelia that the Warhols originally intended.