The theatrical nature of the Dresden Dolls, appearing here with Ukulele Loki, tends to be an attribute on stage and a detriment on CD. Since the duo's 2000 formation, Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione have specialized in keyboard-driven airs from the Bertolt Brecht School of Dark Irony, presented with dramatic flourishes and costumes inspired in part by the decadent Berlin scene celebrated in Cabaret. Without the visuals, though, the shtick can get sticky, as a spin of the pair's latest disc, No, Virginia..., demonstrates. A companion piece to 2006's Yes, Virginia..., this compendium of unreleased material, B-sides and so on divides its tracks between typical Dolls fare such as "Night Reconnaissance" and ditties meant to broaden the outfit's musical parameters. Without visuals, however, "The Gardener" and the like all too often seem either contrived or bland: Liza with a zzzzzzzzz. Clearly, these Dolls are more interesting when they're seen as well as heard.
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