THE DRESDEN DOLLS - The Dresden Dolls CD
Inevitably, music will have leaders as well as followers, and both have their place. It's unrealistic and foolish to think that every artist who comes along should be a trendsetter; people who shake things up as intensely as Charlie Parker, the Sex Pistols, John Coltrane, the Beatles or Nirvana are the exception instead of the rule. But when someone does come up with something that is truly fresh, he/she deserves applause — and there is plenty of freshness on this self-titled CD by the Dresden Dolls, a Boston-based duo that successfully blends alternative pop/rock with German cabaret. Lead singer Amanda Palmer brings an unlikely combination of influences to this release, and they range from Kurt Weill and Marlene Dietrich to goth rock, punk, and the riot grrrl movement. Palmer has been greatly affected by the emotional catharsis of PJ Harvey, Courtney Love and Tori Amos — her performances can be very stream-of-consciousness — but she has also been influenced by the cabaret of Germany's pre-Adolf Hitler Weimar Republic.