The Dresden Dolls – Review

The Dresden Dolls

by Jamie Kiffel

When my gut screams for liquid chemical hair dyes, my heart oozes tar in the patched spots, and my brain grinds thick, silver glitter (in the most subwoofer-glam way), it means I’ve found my latest soul music. I owe my pierced-and-streaked angst to The Dresden Dolls‘ new, self-titled studio album.

Pianist/lyricist Amanda Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione twist out thick, sometimes jazzy, sometimes waltzing, syncopated and minor-key music, always redolent of pantomime, German cabaret, and indulgences well-wrenched. The record is spotlessly produced and extremely dynamic (which, please note, also means that if you’re driving, you probably won’t hear the low end of the sound spectrum).

Highlights include “Half Jack,” an addictive hermaphroditic wail about being trapped with half a man inside the brain. The song hints at Jekyll and Hyde, and its nursery rhyme lyrics are lusciously transgressive. “Coin-Operated Boy,” while more comic, is fantastically catchy with ticks, whirrs, and clinks that draw stunning air pictures of Palmer’s anachronistic, coin-op dream man.

With her rich, emo-thick alto, Palmer’s voice pleasingly reminiscent of Depeche Mode or perhaps Duran Duran, while Viglione’s drumming seems her perfect foil. Caged, crazed, and purring at once, this is the stuff on which to run me.