Experimental Music Love

September 29, 2008

Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer?

Filed under: Album Reviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 1:02 am
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Amanda PalmerWho Killed Amanda Palmer?

As one half of celebrated punk cabaret artists, Dresden Dolls, and all round alternative idol, Amanda Palmer is notorious for being one of music’s most vivacious and impassioned performers. Go see any Dolls’ show and you’ll be overawed by just how volatile a pianist can be, as the sweat pours, the vehemence is spat and Palmer salutes a crowd from every spectrum of disaffected youth.

Lacking the powerhouse drums of Dolls’ partner, Brian Viglione, some may fear that Palmer can’t quite live up to the intensity of her band’s work that has seen two modern classics in Dresden Dolls and Yes, Virginia. All worries were thankfully forgotten though, as Palmer toured a solo set that included a residency at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. And though the fervour was perhaps lacking, what replaced it was a wonderful poignancy and dark humour that showed Amanda’s talent could carry itself on its own very well indeed.

If anything, this first solo offering only re-enforces that idea further, with a confidence throughout that punches holes when it needs to, yet stays as subtle and soft as the melancholic ballads politely ask for.

Things start in typical Dolls’ fashion, with Astronaut: A Short History of Nearly Nothing not so adverse from anything previous, acting as a safe link between projects. Runs in the Family though offers a variety of strings and sounds lacking in the more punk rhetoric of her other works.

This all comes back full force though on Leeds United, though the risk of its copious horns and odd subject matter may be a hard one to imagine Amanda taking in her more conventional creative outlet. It works flawlessly though, and makes no mistake in this album being taken as a unique venture.

Oasis stands out though as typical Amanda, with its satirical take on the more serious issues we deal with, as one rape victim has her day turned around by a signed photo from Noel and Liam. But with Ben Folds pop production all over this, ‘woo woo’ choruses create a a contrapuntal controversy that’s the breeziest pop blast that Amanda’s ever been involved with.

Too many ballads do clog things up, and Folds could have worked some pop magic to invigorate things along the way. But this is an album of emotion and integrity, yet as playful and sardonic as anything Dresden Dolls have done. I only wonder what Brian’s been coming up with in the mean time.

8.3/10

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