Amanda Palmer And The Grand Theft Orchestra
Theatre Is Evil
This review originally ran in AP 291.
Amanda Palmer hangs on Twitter too much, insists on wearing sheer clothing in photo ops with her famous literary-figure husband and has galvanized a legion of marginalized, annoying people who needed to follow a similarly kooky type to rationalize every bad makeup, wardrobe, poetry-writing and sex-partner decision they ever made. She has also made one of the best fucking records of the year, sporting dynamic arrangements, razor-sharp psychological profiling, heartbreak that’s more painful than wet-work and other moments of exhilarating sonic and psychic evacuation. The three-piece Grand Theft Orchestra back up their fearless leader with high-spirited instrumental boleros, rollicking glam-rock anthems and assorted electronic tinctures. But it’s Palmer’s immense gift for empathy that’s on display here, from spent-bohemian, soul-blues diva (“Berlin”), quirky, bi-curious new wave acolyte (“Melody Dean”) and the mundane star/groupie relationship (“Do It With A Rockstar”). But when she precisely details the death of relationships—both passing (“Grown Man Cry”) and committed (“The Bed Song”)—you’ll pray for the lump in your throat to finish you. Because on Theatre Is Evil, Palmer captures the human condition like no other artist.