Amanda Palmer Slays With ‘The Killing Type’September 17, 2012 1 Comment
The only other thing I knew about Palmer is that she’s one-half of the Boston cabaret-punk duo The Dresden Dolls. I saw them live once in 2005, opening for Tori Amos at Chicago’s Millennium Park. (Amos is close pals with Palmer’s husband, author Neil Gaiman.) The open-air pavilion probably wasn’t the best venue for the Dolls’ vaudevillian sound, but that style of music isn’t something I enjoy very much regardless of the setting, and Palmer pursued it further via her solo work.
But on her new album, Theatre Is Evil, credited to Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra — she’s joined by a full band for the first time — the precious, too-studied stylings that turned me off have been replaced by a tougher, layered sound. Produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Civil Twilight), Theatre Is Evil presents a rockier side of Palmer that suits her better than anything I’ve heard before. And by varying the kinds of textures heard on Theatre Is Evil, the few piano-centric tracks that are on the album don’t come off as overwrought or worse, gimmicky.
“The Killing Type” is the song that won me over. With a chugging guitar that conjures up ‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry,” along with some other ’80s-era touches in the percussion and background vocals, it’s half tight-fisted tension, half full-body release, and all sorts of amazing. On “The Killing Type,” Palmer slays most of what passes for rock these days, taking advantage of a vacancy that’s been unfilled for far too long.
Though Palmer (assumedly) avoided running into the red for the recording of Theatre Is Evil, the color bleeds all over the music video for “The Killing Type,” which comes with a warning.