Two years after the slow, messy dissolution of The Distillers culminated in their ultimate split, Brody Dalle is back with Spinnerette.
A far poppier beast than her previous band, the tone of Spinnerette’s self-titled debut album is set by ‘Ghetto Love’, a jerky, tensile little number that suggests Karen O doing The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’.
Elsewhere on the album, ‘Valium Knights’ kicks off in the hyperactive, breathless manner of ‘Ballroom Blitz’, while ‘Distorting A Code’ finds Dalle adopting a breathy, St Etienne-style vocal tone, backed by backward mantras and strange, dissonant harmonies. ‘Drain The Blood’ it is not.
So has Dalle sacrificed her snarling, vitriolic edge? Hardly. This is still a bracingly angry sounding record, full of toxic hate-songs such as ‘Cupid’, about how, in Dalle’s words, “I’m going to fuck Cupid and rip his wings out and boil his liver, because he’s constantly torturing me” (surely giving him a stern ticking off would be enough..?)
Her return couldn’t have been timed better. Since Dalle was last on the scene, female vocalists have come to dominate music as never before. But it’s a specific type of female voice that owns the zeitgeist in 2009. From the hedonistic electro of Little Boots and La Roux to the zoned-out, ‘beans on toast’ vignettes of Lily Allen, there’s no shortage of female artists able to reflect modern Britain in a wry, frothy manner. What’s lacking is a sense of venom, of uncaged ferocity.
When Dalle sings, it’s with a jagged, full-throated power that pins you to the back wall – even on something as relatively restrained as ‘Ghetto Love’. Welcome back, Brody. Rock’n’roll has been a drabber place without you.