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Northeast Performer - April, 2002

The Dresden Dolls s/t
Recorded and Engineered by Owen Curtin
Mastered by Noah Blumenson-Cook


by John Lefler

"The Dresden Dolls is another wonderfully off-kilter brainchild of performance artist and Boston scenestress extraordinaire Amanda Palmer. With the help of drummer Brian Viglione this self-release is a glimpse into a kaleidoscopically fractured pysche of Girl vs. World. Palmer, armed with her piano and emotionally raw lyrics keeps pulling you along, playing as the ship goes down in this mental maelstrom. Don't let the piano and the beautiful girl fool you; this isn't some Tori Amos knock off. Palmer is more like Tori's misunderstood little sister who's been locked in the attic with an old piano.

From the first trembling verse of "Half Jack" there's a tension lying just under the surface that by track's end roars to life as Palmer ambushes the piano-lulled listener. The mania comes to full blossom on "Girl Anachronism" as the old ivories are attacked with such unbridled passion it would scare the great balls of fire off Jerry Lee Lewis himself. Finally, an exhausted calm settles on "The Perfect Fit" and "Colorblind", both of which are broken songs of love. While the frenetic pace slows on these songs as well as "Good Day", the feeling of being out of step and a little out of mind remains ever present.

The production of the Dresden Doll's EP may not be as clean as one would want, but such rough edges are suited to the mood of the music and wounded feelings that abound. The quiet mastering on this disc almost serves it well as you have to turn it up to listen good (just avoid a shuffle with something too loud). Unfortunately it's all over too soon; five songs are simply not enough. To get the full effect of the Dresden Dolls one would be best served seeing them live. But barring that, put this disc on repeat and hide the breakables."