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Rip It Up, a weekly publication in Adelaide, Australia, has reviewed American Doll Posse. For the record, the k-word shows up in the first sentence.
American Doll Posse (Sony/BMG)
For all her kooky imagery, videos and lyrics about Charles Manson’s ice cream tastes, Confucious completing crosswords in Heaven and the power of orange knickers, Tori Amos’ most enduring moments have often been her overshadowed songs of beauty and serenity. Although there’s songs of crystalline warmth on American Doll Posse, the album is arguably the hardest Tori Amos record to completely engage with since the contractual obligation double album, To Venus & Back, in 1999. For her ninth studio release, the Cornwall-based songwriter has credited five divergent personalities based in Greek mythology as helming American Doll Posse, with each disparate figure grappling for attention. So far, so Tori, but has American Doll Posse’s lack of structure, head-scratching context and sheer volume of music once again threatened to dislodge Tori from her wild-eyed pianist niche?
It’s certainly wearying to find the flame-haired Maryland songstress unleashing more than 70 minutes of new music and tackling political, sexual and maternal instincts, yet for all the perplexing incidental moments such as Fat Slut and Programmable Soda there’s sumptuous creations such as Secret Spell, the heavenly Bouncing Off Clouds and dismissively short but deceptively clever introductory track Yo George.
With Tori now living an apparently picturesque domiciled life in regional England, it would be easy to believe that cunning New York pianist Regina Spektor has completely usurped any need for more music from the Cornflake Girl. While maddeningly diverse and completely unhinged thematically, American Doll Posse makes a bold statement in opposition to that suggestion.
On new tune Code Red, Tori sings that ‘victory is an elusive whore’. She is indeed, yet once again Ms Amos has challenged herself and her listeners while guiding her lunatic express to another stubbornly independent success.