An awful lot of hype has gathered around this release in the last few months. If the yea-sayers are to be believed, it represents a mighty stride forward into the future of the music business: a million dollar crowdfunded behemoth built on mutual love and admiration between fan and artist; a true leveller of the playing field and an inevitable inspiration to those seeking alternative methods for making their sounds heard.
Regardless of your feelings regarding the album's process, one question has always remained, and it is a question that could only be answered truthfully within the last few days: Is the album actually any good?
The simplest answer would be 'YES', though any answer so brief would do an injustice to a record that has plainly had hours of attention lavished upon even its humblest moments.
In the broadest sense, 'Theatre Is Evil' is very much a product of the 80s. It is not, one should be aware, a mere revivalist exercise: though the music frequently ticks the boxes of goth, cock rock, new wave and new romantic, it still sounds - appropriately enough - new. The twinkling synths that garnish much of the album may have that retro vibe, but they are merely an aspect of the wider pantheon of musical glory.
The band should be exceptionally proud of their creation. Nary a second is left unfilled by thrilling sounds, yet the songs never feel cluttered or unwieldy - just exciting. Palmer herself is also on top form, perhaps in the finest voice of her career, with added menace to the growl and further yearning to the moan.
Of course, as a house with a beautiful facade is no use if the foundations are rotten, so an album covered in pretty music is nothing without good songwriting. Again, AFP & GTO have performed admirably, creating songs that are expertly wrought and fundamentally safisfying in every aspect. The ballads swoon with bitter longing and heart-rending melancholy, whilst the bouncier numbers pop and rock before bursting with superglue choruses, each and all scattered with glittering lyricism.
If you love your music to come with heaping scoops of passion, served with precision and dusted with panache, 'Theatre Is Evil' is the album that will make your year.