Friday, August 2, 2013
Album Review: The Dolls Of New Albion, A Steampunk Opera
I don't remember how I stumbled upon this. I think it might have been in a google image search, and I saw "Steampunk Opera" in the image and was intrigued. You can listen to the whole thing online for free - you don't pay until you want to download it to put it on an mp3 player, so you can preview the whole thing. I listened to the first and second song, and after that I bought it.
I've always loved songs that tell stories (can't stand lyric poetry, but I like narrative poetry) so to me, a musical is only one step better. There are four acts, and each track is a scene. Each act deals with one generation of characters, and the next act tells the story of their descendants. And each story takes the world of the previous act, and shows what has evolved out of the events of the previous story. By the time they're running the zombie doll for mayor, I'm completely invested in the world and loving the surrealness of it.
I will attempt not to gush about the creepy romance of this album. There are four acts. The first is about a woman scientist who brings the man she loves back from the dead in a newly created full sized doll body. And if you've paid attention to media for the last thirty years at all, you know that bringing people back from the dead never ends well. Never.
In fact, for those of you out there who like your happy endings, I'll give you a warning right here - this tells four stories, and none of them have happy endings. Satisfying? Yes. Happy? No.
But I've personally always loved when a storyteller can take a story and make it satisfying even if it's not happy. So many complex emotional responses it can evoke.
The one thing that disappointed me is the very ending, where a revolution is in the making. Anyone who knows me well knows that civil war is kind of a thing that hooks me, and draws me into something. So when I heard the narrator sing,
"The revolution that rises
has stories for another
time, our tale for this evening
comes to a close"
I confess to having been a bit disappointed.
I was checking out Paul Shapera's site, and what else he's released, and what he's got in the works, and went, omg, omg, omg. Because I saw this.
Yes, ladies an gentlemen, there's a sequel. And it's call the "New Albion Radio Hour, A Dieselpunk Opera." And it's about the revolution.
I do not lightly give the twelve cylinders, but this one gets it.