Release Date: May 5, 2017
Record label: Cooking Vinyl
While their musical styles might not sound superficially similar (or even remotely related to each other), evidence of Amanda Palmer having been a fan of The Legendary Pink Dots since she was a teenager is present throughout her work if you know what to look for. Her earlier records especially saw her using music to create fiction, myth and metaphor (culminating obviously in 2008's Who Killed Amanda Palmer), as well as creating hardcore musical chaos, though acoustically rather than electronically (notably on Dresden Dolls tracks like 'Girl Anachronism', obvs). Thus it really shouldn't be a surprise that her and Edward Ka-Spel's collaboration I Can Spin A Rainbow makes so much sense.
The odd pairing of Amanda Palmer (performer of street theater, solo artist, and member of The Dresden Dolls) and Edward Ka-Spel (The Legendary Pink Dots) has created an equally odd album. Funded through Patreon, it's more of a rock-art project than an album of songs. Ka-Spel's avant-garde approach to music is well documented, as is Palmer's, and together they venture further into a cosmic miasma.
Light a candle in a dark room and wrap up snug; this is a haunted house of a record. Dark corners, echoey corridors, lyrics half sung, half spoken. If this is truly the long-yearned-for project of Bostonian radical Amanda Palmer, concocted with her teenage hero Edward Ka-Spel (vocalist of London-via-Amsterdam experimentalists The Legendary Pink Dots), then there are some forlorn, unsettling things living in their shared psyche.
Amanda Palmer is not one to follow a linear artistic trajectory. Her solo debut, 2008’s Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, was about as straightforward an effort as we have ever gotten post-Dresden Dolls. Since then, listeners have been treated to everything from auditory travelogues (2010’s Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under) to projects like the Grand Theft Orchestra’s Theatre Is Evil, which included a companion art book to boot.
Amanda Palmer with Edward Ka-Spel, her collaborator on “I Can Spin a Rainbow.” Despite her reputation as a fiercely independent artist, Amanda Palmer has spent more than half of her recording career, even disregarding her stint in the Dresden Dolls, in collaboration: with Ben Folds and OK Go's Damian Kulash, with Neil Gaiman, with Jason Webley as Evelyn Evelyn, even with her own father, Jack. "I Can Spin a Rainbow" finds her bouncing ideas off of the Legendary Pink Dots' Edward Ka-Spel, whose aggressively experimental approach to what a song can entail is so specific and unyielding that the album forces her into new modes. It's as out-there as Palmer has ever gotten.