When she was at the helm of the dark punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls, Amanda Palmer‘s knack for baring her soul on the most melodramatic scale inspired a fevered devotion among her fans. So much so that she set a mighty high Kickstarter record to pay for her second solo album, ‘Theatre Is Evil’, in 2012. Now. seven long years later, she’s back with the crowdfunded ‘There Will Be No Intermission’ – 20 tracks and an accompanying book.
While on paper that may sound a little indulgent, this record actually allows Palmer the freedom and scope to express herself like never before. Across 10 tracks interspersed by 10 interludes, Palmer deftly navigates us through her experiences of – as she has previously put it – “miscarriage, cancer, grieving and the darker side of parenthood”.
Following cinematic, instrumental opener ‘All The Things’, Palmer immediately unloads with both barrels on the forensic but whimsical ‘The Ride’, poring over the highs and lows of the journey of life where “everything is gonna be just fine / Everyone you love is gonna die / From the baby you lost to the one that’s growing inside”. Ultimately she concludes, “The alternative is nothingness / You might as well give it a try”.
Here, she’s more candid than she’s ever been before. On ‘Voicemail For Jill’, Palmer uses her own experience of abortion to deliver a rare sweet, sympathetic message on the topic, from one woman to another: “It’s a strange grief, but it’s grief”. ‘A Mother’s Confession’ is a darkly humorous, piano-backed diary entry of the daily parental struggles, while ‘Bigger On The Inside’ sees her reflect on the death of her brother: “I keep forgetting to remember that he would have been much prouder / If he saw me shake these insults off instead of getting bitter”.
The electro-flecked ‘Drowning In The Sound’ is a tongue-twisting diatribe against the hypocrisy of social media, as she rails against those “marching for peace but lynching the bitch that got up in your face”. Cathartic in its honesty, ‘There Will Be No Intermission’ is not dressed up in the same theatrics as her past work, but loaded with the drama of real life. Her fans have allowed us this record, and she’s given the world all of herself in return.