Review - CD: Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra: Theater of Evil

A Fortean at the Fringe Review

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra

Theater of Evil

Ok - the stuff you probably know - Amanda Palmer, former Dresden Doll, married to Neil Gaiman, first studio album in four years, crowd sourced from 25 000 people.  Interesting as all of that is - the big question is - what's the album like?

As a whole one thing that comes across is that this is an album screaming out to be performed live.  It's a grandiose mix of intimate songs and gut wrenching powerful attempts to break the piano!  The album was written over several years and this is seen in the range of songs both in terms of performance and subject matter.  One song - The Killing Type - had me beating out the rhythm as it went along at the first hearing.  I didn't want that song to end.  But it did.  But I didn't mourn The Killing Type for long.  Want it Back hit me with its familiarity from the first hearing - surely a glitch in the matrix!   If it is a case of a glitch then bring it on - I could listen to Want it Back all day, definitely a stand out in a brilliant album.

The whole album hits you at once with the appearance of an old friend - that's not to say we've heard this from Amanda Palmer before, we most assuredly have not.  The tenderness of Grown Man Cry battles with the welcome assault of Smile and when we get to Trout Heart Replica we have a singer pouring her heart out to the listener and to no one else.  She is singing this just for you.  After the tenderness we have a welcome Grand Theft Intermision - a proud marching anthem.  With the return after the intermission we have Bottom Feeder where the mix makes it sound as if Palmer is singing a few inches in front of your face.  The vocal and piano simplicity of The Bed Song details the breakdown of a long term marriage.  The next few songs build to a happy crescendo to a song bursting with life and the promise of life - Olly Olly Oxen Free.  

Produced by John Congleton and recorded with The Grand Theft Orchestra (Michael McQuilken, Chad Raines, and Jherek Bischof) the instant thought is will there be another collaberation between these people because boy does it work.

So over all an exellent album.  Amanda Palmer is not seen as a main stream artist.  That means a lot of people may miss out on this album and that's just a crying shame.

And as for the live performance - well that's October!

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