Mojo (Publisher) (p.94) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Amanda's a revelation, like a relaxed, grainy Nancy Sinatra....Subversively moving."
Personnel: Jack Palmer (vocals, guitar); Amanda Palmer (vocals, ukulele, piano, Mellotron, vibraphone, glockenspiel); Joe Costa (tambourine, thunder sheet).
Audio Mixer: Joe Costa.
Recording information: DReamland Studio, Hurley, NY.
Photographer: Kyle Cassidy.
Amanda Palmer has always been a very assiduous creative figure, intent on exploring art, occasionally confronting both the macabre and the taboo. Following her last studio effort, 2012's Theatre Is Evil, the singer/songwriter has taken a decidedly bittersweet turn, delivering an album of cherished cover songs in a wonderful folk-laced vein recorded with her father, Jack Palmer. Opening the record is the title track and a cover of Leonard Cohen's "You Got Me Singing" -- something that seems an obvious choice as it appears to encapsulate the project for both father and daughter entirely. Beautifully delivered, both father and daughter complement each other's vocals extremely well. Amanda's unmistakably soft yet commanding voice melds well with her father's dulcet tones. What is apparent throughout is just how much of a delightfully mixed bag the song choices are. Early on we're given "Wynken, Blynken and Nod," a children's poem, and here we get an early taste of the general instrumentation and overall sound throughout the album; Amanda's hushed lullaby vocals sit nicely atop her father's storybook singing, surrounded by warm, arpeggiated guitar chords and resonant, ringing glockenspiels. It's clear that the apple didn't fall far from the tree when listening to Jack Palmer's delivery. His voice is as compelling as his daughter's, evident on songs such as "Louise Was Not Half Bad," a deathly country song in which his vocals seemingly nod to the late Johnny Cash, rumbling throughout each verse, while the odd flutter of tropical guitar notes traverses each chorus. A palpable highlight is a version of Sinéad O'Connor's "Black Boys on Mopeds." You can tell through Amanda's voice here that it's an important song for her. The song's stripped-back nature of just voice, mandolin, and the occasional backup vocal of soothing humming really is the perfect example of how a song can be more with less; uncluttered and simple, it's a shining part of the record. Another arresting moment is a version of Phil Ochs' protest song "In the Heat of the Summer," in which Jack slightly altered the lyrics. Knowing that the song was originally written in response to the 1964 Harlem riots, the track feels all too terrifyingly current when you absorb lyrics such as "Another black kid face-down in the road/Whose life did not seem to matter," sadly translating as a reminder of how little progress has been made in terms of tackling social division. It's definitely worth noting that the production throughout is warm and crisp, and at times it feels like you're the sole attendee of a live living-room set. It's with this in mind that a lot of the tracks feel very close and intimate, while at the same time the use of reverb provides a rich sense of scale. Ultimately, one of the things understood is that for an album of cover songs, the result still feels entirely personal and held dear when hearing the father and daughter pay tribute to their inspirations together. ~ Rob Wacey