I first saw The Dresden Dolls live in 2003 when they opened for The Legendary Pink Dots front man Edward Ka-Spel. I saw Amanda Palmer standing around before the show with her face paint on and thought, “oh brother, what sort of crap is this going to be?”
The Dresden Dolls then proceeded to blow away my expectations and leave me standing with my jaw on the floor. I loved the chemistry between the two performers, the dramatic nature of the songs and the extremely charismatic performance. After the show, I threw down some cash to buy their CD, and I told Amanda that I was surprised I never heard of them, and that I expected them to go quite far. Her reply was more of a non-reply, more of a smile of smug self-assurance, which I think characteristically defines The Dresden Dolls and their, thus far, rather fruitful career. It also describes this new solo album by Amanda Palmer.
On one hand, it is easy to see “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” as The Dresden Dolls Lite, but that isn’t entirely fair. The album does not deviate from any of the previous Dresden Dolls albums in any significant way, but it does have a slightly different artistic flair. What you have is a nice collection of clever songs with the same injection of character that Palmer injected into the Dresden Dolls albums. With these things, I often wonder why they bother with not calling it a Dresden Dolls album, but I guess The Beatles wouldn’t have been The Beatles without, say, John Lennon. And so this album, missing the amazing drummer Brian Viglione, is not The Dresden Dolls.
My particularities regarding naming conventions aside, this is a great album. Some of the slower pieces put me to sleep, but the album as a whole really holds my attention. I like Palmer’s more aggressive pieces, such as the one titled “Leeds United“. I have no idea what this song is about, but it is catchy, memorable and simply rocks out. “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” treads into a alternative/pop music sound that I do not often go for, but the overall confidence expressed in these songs is too compelling to ignore. Coupled with the fact that they are memorable and easy to pleasantly replay in my head all day makes it an album worth recommending.