April 27, 2006

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The Dresden Dolls, Yes, Virginia
Roadrunner Records, 2006

High school theater love bird break-up ballad “Delilah” anchors the gothicly-disheveled drunken cabaret bombast of the Dresden Dolls sophmore album Yes, Virginia.

To claim that this effort surpasses their self titled debut is a mistake as both albums expertly display the talent and artistic experimentality of Dolls duo Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione. Yes, Virginia earns a few points for the tighter production values, but seems a bit less “even boys will belt these out” than it’s predecessor due to a newfound complexity of structure and Palmer’s increasing love of discordant piano splashing.

Romance, revenge and revolting self-awareness flow through Virginia’s lyrics and Amanda sings like a dozen widows are pushing on the back of her heart to get the songs out. True fans will admit that, as with their previous recordings, Viglione’s spectacular percussion has been sadly understated in favor of a piano and Palmer focus. The result is a few notches shy of the triumphant showmanship that concert-goers know of. There is less dead weight than their prior outing, and a sort of sans-pretension hipster maturity has ousted their sometimes obsequious salvery to poeticism. Don’t be fooled by the radio singles “Sing” and “Backstabber” which, while impressive, show the Dolls here at their weakest. Yes, Virginia is a decadent affair drawing threads of femme-singer/songwriterism, piano rock, angst poetry and funk/punk-cabaret-fusion together to surplant your favorite woe triggering album.

Do I wish they had a studio version of “War Pigs” or “Pierre” on here? Sure. Regardless, it’s a wonderful trip for both its journey and destination. We’re now entering Palmerville kids; wave goodbye to ToriAmos-burg; look to the left, Suzy, and you’ll see the best living drummer in music. A
— Glenn Given


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