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Sick Among The Pure - April 2005

The Dresden Dolls: The Dresden Dolls
by Evan Long

Well now, here’s something refreshingly new!

Equal parts Weimar Republic-era cabaret act and The Slits, with a heaping helping of Goth bombast, this theatrical
duo (fronted by songwriter Amanda Palmer) sure can make a hell of a lot of sweet-sounding and angsty noise.  Raw, fast, and emotional – you’d swear you could hear crunchy guitars – but it’s all piano and drums, brought forth from the smoky German burlesque scene of fifty years ago.  Now, I ask you: “Where have we seen this before?”  We haven’t.  The band has carved out a unique niche for themselves, and not only do they command your attention, but they scream to be witnessed in a live setting (I can’t wait).  Lots of bands look cabaret, but these guys manage to also sound like it.

After you get past the initial confrontational shock of the format, real weaknesses start to reveal themselves on this their second album.  For someone with such an obvious sense of humour, Palmer’s lyrics can be seriously earnest to the point of ridiculousness.  Songs about self-mutilation are so 1999.  The Dresden Dolls have themselves a
habit of going from fascinating to corny in between verses.  But for the most part, they’re able to rein in the “Silly Goth” aspect and keep things relatively enjoyable.  Brilliantly written and produced songs like “Coin-Operated Boy” lead me to hope that this album is simply the opening salvo of much more to come.

Damn, I wish I could be the drummer in this band.

DOWNLOAD THESE: “Coin-Operated Boy”, “Girl Anachronism”, “Bad Habit”