Music » Critics' Picks

Dresden Dolls

8 p.m. Sunday, January 6. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard.

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The Dresden Dolls' highly stylized aesthetic and penchant for theatrics could make them an easy target for criticism — if the Boston duo's music didn't live up to the visual melodrama portrayed during its live show. (Think a burlesque show crossed with goth night.) But Amanda Palmer's versatile piano-work and dark, bellowing vocals perfectly match her creepily fanciful brand of cabaret-punk. Brian Viglione keeps his drumming sharp and solid, accenting Palmer's vocals while resisting the urge to add meandering fills or spaz-outs to fill the space left by the band's lack of instruments. "Delilah" — which is found on the Dresden Dolls' last studio album, 2006's Yes, Virginia... — demonstrates the pair's ability to construct an epic, dynamic ballad that tactfully reaches its climax without resorting to layers of instrumentation. Palmer and Viglione subtly lead the listener through beautiful, slow-building peaks and valleys — before releasing a final assault of furious vocal harmony, low piano rumbles and an expressive crescendo of drums.

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