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Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra
- Theatre Is Evil

A few less dollars might have made for less of a carnival, but then there’s nothing more tenacious than a cornered Ms. Palmer wielding nothing more than a piano and the sharp edge of her tongue.

Aug 25th 2012 | Label: Inertia
The latest compelling chapter in Amanda Palmer's “Me vs. The Music Industry” saga has been a bombshell. Having flicked the big V at her old label, Roadrunner, Palmer implored fans to finance her “biggest record yet” through online funding platform Kickstarter. Her initial target of $100,000 was secured within seven hours and she ultimately amassed a barely imaginable $1,192,793. A speculative gamble but, as AC/DC used to sing, she's got balls.

It would be not unreasonable to anticipate that the beneficiary of such an extraordinary offer of support and, dare it be said, love might well feel pressure to reciprocate with a sonic doozy of epic magnitude. And, clearly, this is an album that tries so hard. It positively bleeds with effort, as well as orchestral interludes, walls of sound, keytars, vocoders, wheezy organs etc. But Palmer's sense of melodrama doesn't need augmenting. It's a fearsome enough beast already. The dastardly suspicion you get here is that if she'd achieved no more than her desired $100,000, a tight set of her typically resourceful songs without the whistles and bells would have fared better. Bottomfeeders is a particularly egregious example of a piece that's underwritten and overwrought, although this affliction is reversed towards the end of the album, notably on The Bed Song, a closely observed ballad that's an engrossing drama unto itself.

A few less dollars might have made for less of a carnival, but then there's nothing more tenacious than a cornered Ms. Palmer wielding nothing more than a piano and the sharp edge of her tongue.

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