Alternative music reviews

The Dresden Dolls

Yes, Virginia Apr 2006

I am tempted to say that this album is totally original in conception and execution - except I see one band from the 70s waving over the Dresden Doll's shoulders. Remember Sparks? A seventies band who were so much more than their lasting reputation as a novelty band. They were seriously good on parts of that Kimono My House album - neurotic tension abounded musically and lyrically. Well, The Dresden Dolls have quite shocked me in the vituperative lyrics and the expressiveness and rhythmic flow of the keyboard-based music (I'm normally a guitar man myself). They are on a knife edge of theatricality and credibility. Is this just an Art School pose? There are just too many seriously incisive moments on this album to claim that, just listen to the words and the way they are sung:

why all these conflicting specifications
maybe to prevent overpopulation
all I know is that all around the nation
the girls are crying and the boys are masturbating
(Shores Of California)


is it because you’re A FUCKING
backstabber! hope grabber!
greedy little fit haver!
god, I feel for you, fool…..
shit lover! off brusher!
jaded bitter joy crusher!
failure has made you so cruel…

I worried a bit about the 'Brechtian punk cabaret' that the Dolls have adopted. But maybe it's not so important, it's properly grounded in Brecht and Weill and not cabaret cliches. I would have finished this review a day earlier but I got caught up in the Dresden Dolls website. I went to the downloads section and checked out a couple of videos. I won't deny that I did download the video of "I Got You Babe" + striptease + Britney's "Hit me Baby One More Time" - who could resist such a treat. The drummer Brian looks seriously good in stockings, black lace knickers, and black tape covering his nipples and obviously Amanda was dressed the same. I then had a look a look at the forum devoted to hating The Dresden Dolls - wonderful stuff, so good I bet they wish they had thought of it.

All the same, I can leave all the theatrical stuff aside - that's for people who want to see a fabulous show and not for me. All I want is music that challenges me, gets under my skin and moves me to some place I wasn't at when I started to listen. The Dresden Dolls make fucked-up music for fucked-up people who have the intelligence to understand what the hell is going on. In my book, that makes them pretty special.

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