Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra
Theatre Is Evil

Written by Shane Arnold

Recorded earlier this year in Melbourne, this is the follow-up to Amanda Palmer’s first studio album from 2008: Who Killed Amanda Palmer. It is recorded and released without the requirement of dealing with those nasty big record companies. Thanks to a fan-funded effort, Palmer raised a sizeable amount via Kickstarter and released through her own record label: 8 Ft Records.

The first release, Do It With a Rockstar, is a fair (but by no means complete) representation of what you can expect to hear on Theatre Is Evil. This is an album that’s loud, quiet, hilarious and a shitload of fun. The balls-out (or should that be tits-out?) rock n’ roll blast of The Killing Type contrasts nicely with the gentle piano ballad Trout Heart Replica. I could go on at considerable length, but to dissect this album too much would spoil the surprise. So let’s just say albums like this don’t come along often – so when they do we need to devour them.

Palmer chose wisely with The Grand Theft Orchestra: they are bloody brilliant – a perfect fit for the little world she’s created on Theatre Is Evil. One wonders whether songwriting like this comes easy to Palmer; it’s more likely the result of a lot of fucking really hard work. As an artist she is clearly focussed and dedicated to her craft.

The beautiful thing about this album is that you can just feel Amanda Palmer has not held back. She’s let it all out, and the result is a potently courageous album that is going to impress a hell of a lot of people. It’s arguably the best album Palmer has been involved with. Now let us all cross our fingers for a summer festival tour.

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