Amanda Palmer is perhaps best known for her work in pioneering punk cabaret band The Dresden Dolls alongside drummer Brian Viglione. The Dresden Dolls burst onto the scene in 2000 and challenged the way the industry viewed performers who were ‘different’. Palmer has built her career on being an individual and being different. From the way she dresses, to the way she has been known to express herself, and the way she interacts with her fans who mean so much to her. ‘There Will Be No Intermission’ is her third solo LP, and her first album in six years. The album was completely crowdfunded through Patreon from the dedication and generosity of 12,000 fans. This record is no different to what Palmer has done in the past and delves deep into some issues that are not so often talked about and serves as a commentary on the world, and on her own life.
Opening track All The Things is a one minute twenty-three second instrumental that is the introduction to the story you’re about to be told throughout the record. It leads into The Ride, which is just over ten minutes of Palmer’s beautiful, heartfelt vocals and piano. The emotion in her voice is clearly from the way it shakes, and the rises and falls in her pitch throughout. Congratulations is next and it’s a thirty-eight second break between The Ride and Drowning In The Sound. Drowning In The Sound is a song that comes from comments written on Palmer’s own blog and was the first single released from the album. It was written the day before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana so be prepared for it to get a little dark lyrically.
Hold On Tight is the next break between songs and I don’t advise listening to it alone in the dark, even though it’s short it’s kind of creepy and eerie. The Thing About Things is next and Amanda shows off her skill on another instrument – the ukulele. Lyrically it talks about how things, whether material or not, seem to take on a life of their own once they’ve been purchased, borrowed, lent, and lost. It also talks about the meanings that we give things once they become ours, or once others have taken possession of them. Life’s Such A Bitch Isn’t It is the next instrumental that comes before piano track Judy Blume. Judy Blume is a story of remembering, remembering things that Amanda has been through in the past, people, places and events in her life. The next break is Feeding The Dark and is the shortest piece on the record an only twenty seconds. It’s a beautiful, short stringed instrumental that leads into Bigger On The Inside which talks about experiences and interactions between Amanda and different people in her life. The song also talks about being a fighter, and not knowing that you are one until someone reminds you.
There Will Be No Intermission is the next intermission between songs and is also the title track on the record. You’re going to need the tissues for the next track, Machete, which Amanda wrote as a tribute to her best friend, and namesake of her son, Anthony. ‘I have never liked the box of knives you said was a paradox because your kind’ is a lyric that repeats itself throughout the track with increasing emotion and power. Voicemail For Jill is the next raw, open, honest and emotional track which is about Amanda reaching out to a friend on her way to an abortion clinic. Amanda has never shied away from tackling tricky and delicate situations in her songs and Voicemail For Jill isn’t an exception. It’s a deep and heart wrenching exploration of an unfortunate situation that you need to hear to properly experience.
You’d Think I Shot Their Children leads into the incredibly honest A Mother’s Confession in which Amanda talks about the experiences and challenges that come with being a first time mother. It’s a very sweet and honest story of funny, awkward and scary moments she and author husband, Neil Gaiman, had with baby Anthony. Amanda talks openly in several moments about the times when she cried and it all became too much. Being a first time parent is scary and hearing a song about another mother struggling can really help someone who is nervous, not be so nervous or scared knowing that other people are going through the same thing.
Look Mummy, No Hands is a reflection of a time Amanda was young and her mother took her to a carousel. She talks about how careless we are when we’re young and how she was calling to her mother ‘look mummy, no hands!’ repeatedly as she went round and round. Amanda also talks about how she’s grown up now with a child, and how sadly her mother has passed. Amanda seems to be crying by the end of the track and it’s hard not to cry along with her. Intermission Is Relative is the second to last track, and the last musical break on the record. The final track on this open and honest rollercoaster is Death Thing. Death Thing is perhaps the rawest track on the album and I emphatically stress that you need to listen it to really feel it.
Whether you are suffering from a painful loss, a new mother, needing a friend, or just needing someone to tap into your emotions ‘There Will Be No Intermission’ is a beautiful collection of songs about life and feeling.
Pre-Order ‘There Will Be No Intermission’ out March 8th via Cooking Vinyl HERE!