The sheer ambition that imbues all 78 minutes of There Will Be No Intermission, Amanda Palmer’s third solo album since leaving dark cabaret/weirdo pop duo Dresden Dolls, makes the overt theatricality and self-described “Brechtian punk” stylings that defined all her previous career works seem almost quaint in comparison. A statement album if there ever was one, this particular statement entails, among other things, having ukulele-led ballads side by side with 10-minute long vaudeville piano vamps, all full of strikingly personal, stream-of-thought lyrics and buttressed by orchestral mini-movements composed by collaborator Jherek Bischoff. The most straightforward pop moment to be found here (and that’s a very liberal use of “straightforward”) might be “Drowning in the Sound,” which nails the oddly-specific aesthetic of mid-2000s Vegas pop rock, sounding like a direct conduit between The Killers and Panic! At The Disco.
What is remarkable about Intermission is that out of all its stylistic idiosyncrasies, the production might be the most striking thing here. Songs jump from an intimate, quiet mix to lavish arrangements draped in booming reverb at a moment’s notice, accentuating the high drama of the emotional peaks and valleys that these often epic songs traverse. On an album that dwells on moments small and individual, it conveys them through absolute maximalism. For a seasoned performer like Amanda Palmer, consider her playing to rafters.