Dresden Dolls – Yes, Virginia

One could call the Dresden Dolls absurd and one would be correct. One could call them elegant and one would also be correct. That’s the thing with the Dresden Dolls- they’re not exactly the easiest band to pigeonhole. They’ve been labeled everything from punk cabaret to theatrical new wave rock. After their triumphant self-titled debut album with quirky and highly unique numbers such as “Girl Anachronism” and “Coin-Operated Boy,” (which was played on rather frequent rotation on MTV2, garnering a growing fanbase) we can do little but throw up our hands and exclaim, “Who cares? They’re brilliant!” The show goes on with Yes, Virginia, their sophomore album.

The duo comprising the Dolls includes Amanda Palmer with her shotgun vocals and playful keyboard chords, and Brian Viglione’s powerhouse percussion and bass. Yes, Virginia marks their second album which celebrates their rise from the underground of alternative punk to their more mainstream welcoming. Compared to its predecessor, this album takes all the cheek and vigor from its last collection of songs and creates an equally energetic and steely symphony of melodic dissonance that they are so revered for. Yes, Virginia audio-winks at each and every listener. The Dresden Dolls’ penchant for black “bleeding-heart” humor doesn’t fail to entertain in each song’s show-and-tell of dreary Tim Burton-esque narrative. With tracks entitled “Mandy Goes to Med School” and “Me & The Minibar,” tongue is set clearly in cheek. Palmer wails and screeches about everything from morning masturbation to Holocaust-denying old women while Viglione rapid-fire drums away with an unmistakably catchy rhythm. 

Their ability to create their own brand of rhythm and rhyme places them within their own league of musicians who are bound to be a set point of departure for many imitators and fervent admirers; they are not the sort of band who fades away with the fad. The image of the rich decadence of society and humanity is ingrained onto their album covers, likening to a vaudeville portrait of decaying theaters and sorrowful graphitized hallways and stairwells. The aspect of costume that both Palmer and Viglione dedicate to their performance and persona adds to this vaudeville feel of cabaret and punk. Truly talented story-tellers within their art form, The Dresden Dolls will continue rocking out under their bowler hat, striped stocking guise and Alice in Wonderland repertoire as we follow with eager ears. 

(Roadrunner Records)

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