Make-up, dress-up, talents and honesty have earned the THE DRESDEN DOLLS an enthusiastic following. That they formed after Brian Viglione witnessed Amanda Palmer singing at a Halloween party seems entirely appropriate. That they were initially called Out of Arms does not. A is for Accident displayed their live quirkiness whilst their self-titled release was energized. Those, along with trademark cleverness, are in clear evidence on Yes, Virginia.
“They always said that sex would change you,” Amanda sings in ‘Sex Changes’, questioning, as she has so poignantly done before, the nature and reasons for relationships and begging the question who we are within them. It’s message orientated, a strong opener and one of the best here. This musical promise continues with ‘Backstabber’, not commercially aimed yet catchy enough for alternate radio. The unexpected changes in ‘Modern Moonlight’ give a healthy nod to creativity and the avant garde.
These backdrops make ballad success seem unlikely but success is the only result for ‘Delilah’ which berates a woman for obsessively loving someone that abuses it. Lines such as “you thought you could change the world by opening your legs…well it isn’t very hard, try kicking them instead,” are made more interesting by the fact that the song began it’s composition whilst Amanda was on a Buddhist retreat:) The slow beginning emphasizes the sadness of insufficient self worth whilst the booming climax delivers the tragedy. ‘First Orgasm’ is a ballad of totally different kind as masturbation is put in place as a practical thing to do; as normal as waking, drinking coffee or checking your mail. The endearing charm of Amanda Palmer is that she says what everyone thinks but is to scared to say, consequently making her a spokesperson for the shy and afraid.
There is consistency in the remaining songs but with the exception of the beautiful ‘Sing’, a tribute to everyone, they’re more the skin of the heart allowing the blood of the mentioned songs to keep pumping.
Yes, Virginia doesn’t need vision to be theatrical. Piano gives melody and direction, drums rhythm and punctuation for emotions, and well pronounced, tongue-in-cheek versus brutally honesty lyrics maintain the gravity of message. THE DRESDEN DOLLS have made a delight. There’s nothing like it.