Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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No, Virginia . . .

Boston cabaret-punk duo believe devil-worshipping socialists need love, too

Sure, Amanda Palmer thinks she's superior to you, but that's nothing against you. It's just that she's superior to everyone, and a fat lot of good it does her. Driven by partner Brian Viglione's drums, her keyboard-dominated, cabaret-flavored satirical songs are never snobbish, snide or fey. This follow-up to 2006's Yes, Virginia--adds just five fresh ones to six worthy older non-album numbers. The new "Night Reconnaissance" is either a vividly imagined or painfully remembered tale of accused teen socialist Satanists plotting revenge against tormentors "from good homes." The detailing is equally fine on the resuscitated B-side "Lonesome Organist Rapes Page Turner," where sexual coercion comes out all right in the end (sort of). Fervent and fierce, with a half-earned world-weariness that can recall Johnny Rotten himself, the Dresden Dolls mean to make goth theatricality smart. Quite often, they do.

Blender, July 2008