see serif;”>THEATRE IS EVIL by Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra cialis serif;”>(8 Ft. Records, 2012)
It’s rare anyone these days refers to a group of distinctly rock-flavoured songs as a “great pop record”, let alone such a group released by a boutique sort of artist on a minor record label. Bear with me, is all I can say, because this merits the phrase.
This album is a production triumph. The songs feel both retro and current, with synthesisers from the 80’s, drum beats from the 70’s, vocals sometimes so low in the mix that you feel like you’ve died and gone to Strawberry Fields, all tied together with basslines and backing vocals that cannot be traced in time. Palmer’s voice and musicianship, naturally, shine on every note. It is music for 2012.
Lyrically, the album tackles everything from my generation’s flawed expectations of ourselves and each other on “Smile (Pictures Or It Didn’t Happen)” and “Do It With A Rockstar”, to lovelessness on “Trout Heart Replica” and “The Bed Song”. The best song on the album is by far “Melody Dean”, a song about cheating on your man with the prettiest lady you’ve ever seen while he’s away. It’s catchier than “Call Me Maybe” and loving it comes with none of the guilt. It also contains baroquely-played synthesisers, references to “My Sharona” and “My Best Friend’s Girl” and a horn section to die for. Yes, please. Runners up are the two singles, “The Killing Type” and “Want It Back”, plus the gorgeous ditty “Massachusetts Avenue”. These are some of the greatest pop-like rock songs in years.
Rolling Stone called it “one of the best rock records of the year”. I call it the best.
Palmer offers free downloads of “Theatre Is Evil” from her website. Go. Download. You won’t regret it.
By Sophie McDonald