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Chart Attack - December 20, 2004

The Dresden Dolls Widen Their Perspective
by Joel McConvey

The Dresden Dolls don’t so much get interviewed as talk with each other and let someone else listen in on the fun. The Boston duo of pianist/songwriter Amanda Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione are like siblings, bickering school kids, sweethearts and co-dependent guardians all at once. Having just finished up a North American tour in support of their excellent debut record, they’re also planning a new disc with producer Paul Kolderie and prepping for an overseas jaunt that will take them to Europe and Oceania before heading home for Christmas.

First, though, Viglione has to find his hi-hat clutch.

"Have you seen the hi-hat clutch?" he asks Palmer.
"No. Is everything OK?"
"What’s wrong?"

A few minutes of spirited inter-band discussion later, the hi-hat clutch successfully located, Viglione explains how the new record will differ from the band’s debut.

"This one’s going to be a real thrasher," he says. "It’s unabashedly a rock record. There wasn’t anything heavy like this on the last record."
"Except ‘Girl, Anachronism,’" says Palmer.
"Yeah. But even that wasn’t this heavy."

The Dolls’ debut was produced by Martin Bisi, who has produced work by, among others, experimental pioneers Sonic Youth and Swans. For the new disc, however, the band decided to go with fellow Bostonians Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie, who were been behind the boards for Radiohead’s Pablo Honey, Hole’s Live Through This and records by The Pixies and Dinosaur Jr.

"Martin was a great first producer," says Palmer. "He was great for people who really knew what they wanted to do and were determined to do it. With Paul and Sean, they’re more willing to offer opinions and to contribute their own vision of how things should sound. It’s kind of what we need right now, to widen the perspective a little bit.

"Last time, it was hard, ‘cause I’d lived with those songs for years — I was really close to them. This time, it’s a little different. There’s not the same level of attachment and of fear."

So will the Dolls’ whole aesthetic eventually morph into something else entirely — soldiers, say, or nurses?

"Count on it," Viglione says.