US - Massachusetts - Full Moon 118 - 05/13/06
Dresden Dolls debut established the brechtian punks as a cult band custom made for these times. Singer/pianist Amanda Palmer's razor-sharp tales of woe soon made her many fans. Drummer Brian Viglione underpinned them with solid playing. The new album is focused and deeply uncomfortable. It's not without its pleasures but pain is never far away. "Back Stabber" stabs some musician: "You only sleep with girls who say they like your music". I'm tempted to assume it's about Trent Reznor, whom their band have toured with, but probably not. Palmer's expressive vocal paints an ugly picture of the guy whoever he is. He's so vain he'll think the song is about him. The duo have rarely been more dynamic musically.
"Presenting modern moonlight/ Coke and Pepsi have finally found a way to compromise" she sneers in one sing. Another song, "Delilah" slams an abuse victim. "Cause if you take him back/ I'm gonna lose my nerve/ He's gonna beat you like a pillow/ You shizos never learn/ And if you take him home/ You'll get what you deserve" sings Palmer then offers escape "You need a ride Delilah?/ Let's see how fast this ting can go". The song's name is the same as the infamous Tom Jones song of man murdering his unfaithful woman. "First Orgasm" admits to loneliness and sees self-stimulation as a short-term escape. The piano flutters orgasmically, we even get heavy breathing amid the angst. Pleasure and pain become neighbors here, scorn and sympathy coexist easily.
The album ends with the feel-bad anthem "Sing". "Life is no cabaret/ We don't care what you say/ We're inviting you anyway/ You motherf--kers/ you'll sing someday".
I could compare Amanda Palmer to others playing the piano, but I wont. From now on others should be compared to her, but I doubt anyone will dare to venture so far into the depths of darkness. I'm for once utterly bedazzled, and without the need to criticize anything. Yes, they express unsound views. Yes, they are very theatrical. So? This is passionately alive and expressive psychodrama that will be playing in you head if you let it. Best album of the year so far.
Copyright © 2006 Anna Maria Stjärnell