Rated | Alphabetical
| Highest Rated 2006
The Dresden Dolls: Yes, Virginia...
The Dresden Dolls have always termed their music "Brechtian punk
cabaret," which is one of those buzzword combinations that makes one assume
that they're a novelty act. A history of strong live shows and
rousing eponymous LP have put this assumption to the test, however, and
revealed that the Dolls' overacting on stage and in the recording studio is
quite sincere and that their music is good.
Yes, Virginia..., their sophomore release, is undeniably in the last
album's vein and specializes in songs that sound more like show tunes than
typical rock, while infinitely more like rock than any rock musical out
there. Drummer Brian Viglione deserves at least partial credit for this,
since his assaults are fundamental in rounding out lead singer and lyricist
Amanda Palmer's piano. The two manage to supplant doubts about fullness of
sound that many other duos navigate through production tricks. While there
are some overdubbed vocals scattered throughout the album to mixed effect,
only on the closing "Sing" do the two actually add additional
instrumentation, and it is to excellent and cheesy effect.
Otherwise, the unadorned pair could be in a dancehall or on a stage and be
equally comfortable. Palmer continues to specialize in songs that bear her
heart for the world to see, something that her pop sensibilities and lyrical
cleverness ("And that's the way it's been since protozoa / First crawled on
the shores of California") make a treat despite teetering on the edge of
egomania and unrelenting sexual imagery; "the first orgasm of the morning"
isn't a concept the average listener will necessarily accept unblinkingly at
first blush, despite enjoying the ballad.
Still, Palmer's theatrics, plus the sheer infectious bounce and pound of the
piano and the singsong choruses generally more than tie everything together.
That isn't much aid on "Me & The Minibar" or "Delilah", which drag and drag,
but a song like "My Alcoholic Friends", with its jazzy stomp and vamps,
helps to forgive all. Yes, Virginia... is quite a bit of fun, and if
it ultimately feels as if it's slightly less than its predecessor,
that's because there's a sense of the band's acting out more in order to try
and show how outrageous it can be. But if putting on a show makes you catchy
as hell, so what?
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