Amanda Palmer

There Will Be No Intermission

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Amanda Palmer isn't one for small gestures. Ever since her early days in the punky Dresden Dolls, the singer/songwriter favored grand theatricality, but that tendency reaches its full flower on There Will Be No Intermission, her third album and first solo effort since 2012's Theatre Is Evil. Palmer didn't keep quiet in the interim between these two records -- collaborations in particular abounded -- but given this is her first set of songs in seven years, it would seem this would be a clearinghouse of long-festering ideas. Instead, There Will Be No Intermission is attuned to the moment, an album that attempts to sort through the chaos of 2019, particularly the reckoning engendered by the rise of #MeToo. Palmer views all this turmoil through an individualized perspective that isn't especially restrictive. Operating from the assumption that her personal observations carry universal wisdom, Palmer writes with proud pomp and circumstance, puffing up two songs past ten minutes ("The Ride," "A Mother's Confession"), but never dipping below the five-minute mark. Fleeting instrumental interludes function as palate cleansers between these opuses, which are often anchored in her piano and voice. Even when the arrangements are heightened, as they are with a conventional rock band on "Drowning in the Sound" or strings on "Voicemail for Jill," the album is designed to make the listener lean into Palmer's elliptical verses. Abandoning sculpted hooks for rambling poetry is a canny move by Palmer: it forces attention on the lyrics, since the rest of the record feels deliberately amelodic, with the emotional payoffs arriving via surging crescendos. As such, There Will Be No Intermission is an album designed to demand attention, even if it doesn't necessarily command it -- it's too obtuse and willful for that.

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