CD: Pop review: Amanda Palmer, Who Killed Amanda Palmer

(Roadrunner)

For a songwriter who, at her best, can split the difference between PJ Harvey, Randy Newman, Kurt Weill and Dorothy Parker, Amanda Palmer of Bostonian cult duo Dresden Dolls doesn't get the attention she deserves. With luck, this robustly melodic, Ben Folds-produced solo debut will change that. She is drawn to spiky misfits, whether they be paranoid pill-poppers (Blake Says), school shooters (Strength Through Music) or Palmer herself (Ampersand), and she paints them with arrestingly vivid strokes: Strength Through Music's teenage killer sees the internet as "a web of answers and cumshot girls". Folds' lush, orchestral arrangements ratchet up the emotional power to tremulous heights. Like strong coffee, it's not for everyone - this is an album that follows Rodgers and Hammerstein's What's the Use of Wond'rin with a distressingly jaunty teen's-eye tale of abortion and Britpop - but it packs a mighty punch.

Contributor

Dorian Lynskey

The GuardianTramp

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