"I'm an impressionable songwriter, I don't set things in stone," head Doll Amanda Palmer tells Billboard.com. "We liked to shape and polish these songs over time."
The Dresden Dolls will release their sophomore album, "Yes, Virginia," April 18 via Roadrunner. It's the follow-up to their 2004 self-titled debut, though some of the songs here have been waiting in the wings for close to six years.
"I'm an impressionable songwriter, I don't set things in stone," head Doll Amanda Palmer tells Billboard.com. "We liked to shape and polish these songs over time." The 29-year-old pianist/vocalist says she allowed herself "more simplicity" on the album and moved away from the Dolls' signature cabaret sound.
"As a younger songwriter, I felt the need to over-complicate things to sound more impressive," she says. "On this one, there's three-chord songs. And they sound f*cking great."
Indeed, tracks like "Backstabber" and "Dirty Business" are squarely pop/rock, with straightforward structures and melodies. "Necessary Evil" contains elements of punk with distorted vocals, while "Delilah" is a simple ballad with harmonies and climactic drumming.
"Yes, Virginia" was produced by Sean Slade and Paul Q. Kolderie and will come with a 30-page booklet containing artwork submitted by fans and generated by the band.
Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione are planning a tour to support the 13-song effort. The group is already slated to perform at this year's South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and, as previously reported, at the fifth annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in June.
"We do incredibly well in Germany and Australia is huge," she says. "In Germany, people are more open and excited by the first impression of the band and the kind of goth look of the band. But the music is anything but goth. In America, it's this nasty black mark, but we have about as much in common with Marilyn Manson as we do with Kenny Loggins."
Instead, the Dolls' live act features everything from performance art troupes and Vaudeville-style theatrics to art installations and living statues. The band has instated an "open season" policy for bootlegs, photography and video for all of their performances, due to the popularity of online trading by fans.
April will also see the release of "The Dresden Dolls Companion," a sheet-music book bolstered by fan images, photos and drawings.
Meanwhile, Palmer is co-writing a play with the American Repertory Theatre in Boston with the working title "The Onion Seller." The work is based on a chapter from "The Tin Drum" by Gunter Grass and will premiere at the Boston venue sometime after October.
Here is the track list for "Yes, Virginia":
"My Alcoholic Friends"
"Shores of California"
"Mandy Goes to Med School"
"Me & the Minibar"