Combine the smoky cellars of a Weimar-era cabaret with the rock n’ roll fury of Joan Jett, PJ Harvey and The Violent Femmes and you have a remote idea of what to expect when experiencing The Dresden Dolls.
I was immediately intrigued, and drawn towards the Dresden Dolls by an unexplainable, undeniable fascination. I stumbled upon the band while poking around the internet, reading reviews, checking to see if any bands of interest were coming on tour, when the name jumped out at me- The Dresden Dolls. I immediately conjured up visions of a decadent, modern-day bohemian bunch playing some sort of absinthe-tinged, utterly beautiful, and terrifying music. I couldn’t help but click on the link to their web site. What I found was eerily close to the visions that had danced in my mind moments before, and we’re not even to the music yet. The Dresden Dolls are comprised of pianist/vocalist Amanda Palmer, and drummer Brian Viglione who typically appear in mime makeup, Amanda in lingere, and Viglione wearing a bowler hat and suit. “I gotta hear this”, I thought.
The Dresden Dolls are “brechtian cabaret punk”, combining cabaret, the theatricality of early 20th century German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht, and the raw passion, and emotion of punk. The Dresden Dolls are arguably more punk that anything to emerge in the last two and a half decades. I absolutely could not stop listening to this band once I started. Amanda Palmer’s voice was haunting, combined with her effortlessly flowing compositions, and Viglione’s tactful, and at the right moments, thunderous pummeling of the skins, I knew I had found something special. Until I could get my hands on their album I had to rely on listening to live recordings of the band which were absolutely mesmerizing, and full of primordial power and emotion. I was ecstatic and surprised when Emma called my to inform me she had just picked up the album which, previously could not be found in any of our local record stores. Months before Emma would always comment on how I was listening to that “scary band” again. It seemed she thought I had a bit of an odd obsession with the Dolls. I guess she came around 🙂 Finally getting to hear the studio versions of songs I had listened to over and over from live bootleg recordings was pure bliss. Intimate, emotional, bizarre, colossal, and still mesmerizing; The studio album was all I hoped it would be.
You will hate yourself for not yet having blessed your stereo with the Dolls; I will even personally guarantee your one hundred percent satisfaction or I will offer you a complete refund for the purchase price and I will gladly take the album off your hands. Heck, you’re even going to want two copies for yourself. So, make haste, dig for change, beg, borrow, sell your body to science, do what you must for the ten or so dollars it will cost you to buy pick up this CD, and you will be rewarded ten-fold.
Review by Emma Loggins