The self titled Brechtian Punk Cabaret artists The Dresden Dolls released, in my opinion, the most interesting album of 2003. With masterful use and timing of just piano, drums and vocals Amanda Palmer & Brian Vigilione (the two members of the band) have crafted an album of bittersweet love songs and humourous tales of modern life. Amanda is like a modern day Jerry Lee Lewis creating magical and catchy songs with just her piano and astonishing voice, and then crashing in on top of that to add depth, focus and humour comes Brian's wonderfully timed drumming. The music itself can take you back to 1930s' Weimar Berlin in it's sound and attitude, but with the very cutting lyrics this is no homage to the past but a wonderful commentry on the world as it is today.
The album opens with the wondrous and touching Good Day which is a heartless look at a failed relationship. After having been hurt by their partner ("you'd rather be a bitch than be an ordinary broken heart") the narrator has finally come to terms with their life and is now very content ("i picked up the pieces of my broken ego, i have finally made my peace as far as you and me go..."), whereas the evil ex is now suffering and she no longer cares, "so go ahead and talk about your bad day...". All this is delivered with just the right amount of pathos that it is never sad and is indeed very positive and almost joyous. The other tales of love in the album Missed Me (a tale about going to jail for being unfaithful with the narrators' sister "hope you're happy in the county penitentiary, it serves you right for kissing little girls"), Coin-Operated Boy (how having a puppet as a lover is much better than having a real man because you can do whatever you want "I can even fuck him in the ass" and get more respect and care "i can't imagine any flesh and blood could be his match, i can even take him in the bath") and Truce (again another failed relationship and how the two parties will now have to split the world in half "we can split germany right down the middle
you'd hate it there anyway") are all similarly delivered with a mixture of black humour and biting sarcasm. There are no treacle sweet formulaic love songs here, but brave, original and artistically delivered looks into the darker side of love and relationships.
One of the many highlights on the album is the 2nd track and single Girl Ananchronism. It's the most fast paced song, perfectly suited to the twisted tale of a psychophrenic girl, "behold i am the worlds worst accident". Talk of scars, bruises, drugs, hospitalisation, body casts and such are hardly going to make this song 'radio friendly', but the intensity and power within Amandas' vocals, matched with Brians' fierce drumming make this a song you can't ignore or fail to love.
Amandas black and twisted look on the world continues on songs like Half Jack, a story for her father and how she wishes she could throw off the half of her that comes from him "i run as fast as I can but Jack comes stumbling after...". Here Jack represents her father and of course her mother is Jill. This reference to Jack & Jill and thus to a well known fable is a technique Amanda uses often to her benefit. In the amusing The Jeep Song in which she pours out her annoyance at everyone in Boston having a '96 jeep cherokee and reminding her of stupid ex boyfriend "but with every jeep i see, my broken hear
|Comments On This Review|
|On 22/04/2004 19:23 RAVENOUS (ex-molkod) said:|
excellent, sounds really interesting... im checking their site now
i hope to be home soon to download the media stuff, thankies for sharing this... actually its very helpfull for me right now, for my art projects and my band (of too members) to know about this...
i'll try to get the album in amazon maybe, you know where else i can find it?
|On 25/04/2004 12:18 Clapperpaw said:|
Fantastic review Kitten, when you have the time I think you should continually present reviews to us more often. Especially with such taste, I couldn't agree more that this album was definitely one of the most interesting releases last year. It's a time machine on a spinning disc. I think Gravity and The Jeep Song have to be my favourites. Both depth and wit in a record is certainly something you can't help but admire and I really hope to witness the intensity and fun this summer. *paws firmly crossed*
I think you were the only other person I know to have heard of the Dresden Dolls when I first looked at your 2003 list. This, however all should change!
Molkod > DD records can be found on CDBaby.com! & while you're there, look up Roxy Saint as I think she's right up your alley. Moreover, one of my other favourite bands, METRIC who are definitely nothing short of incredible.
|On 22/08/2004 04:34 MsJamesStJames said:|
i just saw them on a talk show .. and to think they've been right under my nose all this time... i mean they and I are from boston.. it blows my mind.. but i love them now!
|On 13/01/2005 18:53 A.U.B said:|
oh baby, baby.
|On 13/01/2005 18:53 A.U.B said:|
how was i supposed, to know. -
|On 17/02/2005 16:51 tacimsuede said:|
their debut record is really fine . Girl Anachronism is my favourite song . well others song too . good taste .
i guess best new act is the dresdon dolls . good stuff
|On 10/03/2005 03:48 Senorita Suede said:|
A bunch of friends and I have just found the Dresden Dolls' album in stores NOW.. They are wonderful. Wickedly clever, devilishly fun, unique and very profound at once. Brilliant
|On 06/04/2005 02:27 Senorita Suede said:|
I imagine that their official website should have some sort of link where you can buy the album, but I haven't checked it out yet.
|On 16/06/2005 11:55 chicthug said:|
i just bought this on this review. Its ok.... im not overly impressed by them really. "coin operated boy" is just lovely, but girl anachronism is pretty dire noisy crap i thought. and "jeep song"? jesus thats not a good song at all. really very poor. Id say its 50% good, which is quite a generous review more me as i generally hate most new pop orientated music. plus the fact that they are from boston (twinned with detroit as the the 2 worst cities for music) doesnt help. its ok. mildly interesting but i wasnt as impressed as i thought i would be. I now own all of Rasputinas records though, now theres a truly impressive band.
|On 27/06/2005 18:03 nikkie said:|
One of the finest band of the moment, this couple complete each other beautifully and make me so jealous! Just buy the CD, go & see them, they really worth it. Love, N
|On 18/07/2005 20:17 spaced out said:|
i got this cd now and i have to say the jeep song, bad habit, and coin operated boy are excellent
|On 04/08/2005 08:28 chicthug said:|
JEEP SONG????? are you taking the pisssss? i certainly hope so. from a half decent record, that song is the most gratig, irritating and patronising piece of American drivel i have heard in ages. Welcome the return of ChicThug....x
|On 04/08/2005 11:48 Kitten said:|
Chic thug, you are one of the few voices I've heard against the Dresden Dolls (well partially against them anyway as you like some songs). I don't think citing the fact they are from Boston is relevant, for as the Dolls themselves have said they don't feel in any way part of the Boston scene (indeed read my interview with Amanda and she states that most Boston bands are quite jealous of them and dislike them).
I'm surprised you dislike Girl A though, for most people it's a stand out track. Both lyrically and musically it's seen as one of their strongest tracks, merge that with the very fun video directed by Michael Pope (you can see it on their website) and I think it's an ideal starting point to introduce them to people and you are the first person who I've heard say anything against it. Whenever we play it at Club Bohemia (or indeed I hear it anywhere else these days) people cheer and run onto the dancefloor. Maybe you should give it another chance. And Jeep Song, sure it's a little trite in places (probably one of the reasons they don't play it live anymore), but I find it a really witty and fun song nonetheless. It's got some lovely lyrically couplets and a jonty little melody which despite the angsty imagery lifts the song up and makes it fun.
I totally agree about Rasputina though, an amazing band, I can't wait until they finally reach our shores.
|On 04/08/2005 18:43 chicthug said:|
fair comment...as u said, im not fully against them and i like a couple of their songs. my main complaints with them are: some of their songs could be shortened; despite pretentions they are a pop band (and theres absolutely nothing wrong with that) and a knowledge of pop song formulaics would ensure more comfortable listening. Her voice does unfortunately irritate me somewhat, she has very unusual and particular harmonics which dont sit well with my palatte. Girl A is just a little too noisy for my liking, a little overproduced but a good legnth and with a decent hook altho the hook in question actually makes up the entire song. Iv nothing against people liking them at all, that would be silly! i like them a bit for the fact that theyr nicely minimalist and have a piano. i just was disappointe by the Lp. and im sorry, but jeep song just makes me cringe like an alanis morrisette b side would.
|On 21/08/2005 00:18 Geisha_Emmerz said:|
Lovely review. I'm so happy The Dresden Dolls are gaining much more publicity. I just recently discovered them and their song are infectious. The combination of drums and thundering pianos is so simply...Wonderful. Plus, they have wit and their look is very original. I'm hoping to see one of their concerts soon, which I heard have fire eaters and burlesque dancers. Sound interesting.
|On 24/08/2005 12:38 chicthug said:|
wit and look original? hmmmm........
|On 29/08/2005 17:28 The Vaulted Eel. said:|
chicthug said: 'I now own all of Rasputinas records though, now theres a truly impressive band.' hahha rasputina make the dresden dolls look like a pile of squished grapes. i don't mind the dresden dolls i just think they are overrated. i do like their songs 'truce' , 'good day' and 'bank of boston beauty queen'. very good review though kitten.
|On 17/05/2006 18:04 SparklySoph said:|
Regardless of what you think of thier music (and I can understand how tracks like girl anachronism are a bit "either you love it or you hate it"), I think anyone would be hard pressed to deney they are fantastic live. I went to thier Astoria show last week, and I can honestly say it was one of the best gigs I've ever been to. Brian Viglione, in particular, was one of the most
mesmerising drummers I had ever seen, and the chemistry between him and Amander on stage was brilliant to watch.
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