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Dresden Dolls

No, Virginia (Roadrunner)

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The Dresden Dolls may play dress-up and mess around with the dark arts a bit, but this cabaret-punk duo digs deeper. No, Virginia is billed as a companion piece to the Dolls' 2006 CD Yes, Virginia, but it isn't so much a collection of outtakes from that record as it is a set of leftovers that spans the group's entire career. In addition to the Yes, Virginia odds and ends, the album includes B-sides, a handful of tunes recorded earlier this year, and songs that singer Amanda Palmer wrote when she was still in her teens. She continues to hone the goth snake-charmer role, but the real star of this show is her peppy but deep baritone, which — like the carnival sideshows she and Brian Viglione so obviously adore — grabs all the attention. It's easy to fixate on the Dolls' darker side because of this, but they have a sense of humor too. Just listen to the stalker tale "Lonesome Organist Rapes Page-Turner" and "Ultima Esperanza," where Palmer dissects online romances, complete with an appearance by a horny paraplegic.

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