4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Yes, Yes, YES Virginia.,
This review is from: Yes, Virginia [Digipak] (Audio CD)
In summary, then: Best album of the year.
It strikes me that a sentence like that usually begs a "so far!" disclaimer at the end of it -- but not in this case. And there are an awful lot of records out in 2006 that could claim (or potentially claim) that particular mantle. But they *still* won't be as good as this. Really.
So in summary, then: Best album of the year. Any year.
I first came to the Dresden Dolls last year and liked what I heard. Their live "A is for Accident" album along with their eponymous "Dresden Dolls" release were a breath of fresh air in a musically morbund climate. They weren't necessarily my favourite act, but I liked them enough.
Introduced via the quirky "Coin Operated Boy", my worries focussed not on the band's good songs (however good they actually were) than the assumption that "Coin Operated Boy" sounded like a novelty record.
(Rubbish, of course. It really is no such thing. Listen again if you doubt me. I mean, really *listen*.)
Realistically though, a piano/drum beat-combo should never have worked. Even now, it seems laughable. "Brechtian punk caberet"? You've got to be kidding!
And you'd be right. Fortunately, the songs were a lot better than that: "Good Day" was possibly one of the strongest introductions to a band of all time -- as a statement of intent it's unparallelled to this day. And "Girl Anachronism" was a blistering punch to the gut; a stake in the ground that declared war on both singer and listener alike.
But as we all know, bands like this fizzle. The curse of the "difficult second album" strikes too many artists. Second albums are rarely as good as the first. It's a fact of life.
Especially when expectations are high.
So please forgive me when I admit that I approached this album with extreme trepidation.
When a copy was finally pressed into my hands and I stuck it into my CD player I should have, no NEEDED to admit to something even scarier: Upon the first listen I was disappointed. My fears surmounted my rational analysis.
Forgive the analogy, but looking back it's kind of like Pope Julius II seeing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for the first time and saying to Michaelangelo, "But I'd always imagined God was a brunette".
Yeah well, I'm a no-nothing idiot at first impressions. Second impressions too, most probably.
But I'll stand up for this. It's my first review.
The songwriting on display here is astonishing. Every track delivers. And then delivers more. And more. And more. On every subsequent listen.
My first impressions suck. And blow. And whatever else. But when something gets under your skin, you've got to tell someone, right?
It's not just the music and the lyrics; there has never been an act where the drumming has been as important as the singing. Drummer (and part-time guitarist) Brian Viglione is every bit as vital to the band as singer/pianist Amanda Palmer to the songs, even during the songs where he barely plays a note. This not only demonstrates incredible confidence on his part, it also underlines his abilities as a master musician.
I love this album. I want you to buy it.
PS. Please forgive me for the dreadful title of this post. Thanks. ;-)