I really, really wanted to hate this record. I confess that I looked upon it with distain when it arrived on my desk for review. This is the famously crowd-funded 1.2million dollar album from Amanda Palmer – who, while I really enjoyed Dresden Dolls, they had slowly, but surely become, to these ears/eyes more and more annoying.
But shit, I was wrong. And I am pretty sure it’s not a matter of “oh it’s not as bad as I expected, and therefore I am mistaking the relief as quality”. Her fans – and they are undeniably dedicated, and you’ve gotta kinda respect that she’s managed to build such strong allegiance – would have reightfully expected something great in return for their support and, honestly, as annoying as I might personally find Amanda Palmer, i have to hand it to her with how great she delivered on, and I suspect exceeded fans expectations with Theatre is Evil.
It’s bombastic and huge and full of ridiculously good pop-hooks – from the get-go – Smile is a massive crowd pleaser; The Killing Type is AM-radio throwback-esque – and Do It With A Rockstar is great sloppy fun (ooo-eer!). If you aren’t shout/singing this back at her when you see her live you are probably dead or at the wrong show.
And, with an album clocking in at an hour and a quarter, Palmer is, evidently, not about to short-change her legions of fans.
80s synth lines pulse and shimmer in the most unexpected fashions; horns and strings add lushness; guitars lick wildly and all while Palmer’s caustic wit is undeniable and disarming – “It feel like they are pretending / it’s like they just want blowjobs / and they know these songs will get them” she observes in album mood changer Grown Man Cry.
Lighters aloft for Bottomfeeder / hands in the air without a care for Lost / and there’s something Nellie-the-eleplanty-ly great about Massachusetts Avenue – replete with it’s shouty-along-bits and horns.
My Sharona is re-invented / re-imagined and it’s freakin’ genius on Melody Dean.
Amanda Fucking Palmer she calls herself. She knows. She fucking knows. Damn you, Palmer.
RATING : REALLY GREAT