Brody Dalle - Diploid Love [VINYL] - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Brody Dalle - Diploid Love [VINYL]

by Jeff Penczak Rating:7.5 Release Date:2014-04-28

The Joan clone’s jet(t) black hair is now a frosty platinum blonde, a new look for the former frontwoman of El Lay punkers The Distillers, and the even better and more accessible Spinnerette, whose lone eponymous release won the Best Pop/Rock Album Independent Music Award back in 2010. She’s been rather quiet since then, presumably with her hands full rearing her and hubby Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age)’s two rugrats. But as soon as the needle hits the, er, grooves of her debut solo album, a few things are absolutely clear. She still sounds like Jett’s daughter, can still write bitchin’ riffs, and has lost none of her ferocious bite.

'Rat Race' jumps out of your speakers and grabs you by the balls, daring you to walk away from the power-pop/punk hooks which announce Dalle is back, and she’s ready to kick ass and take names. The overwrought 'Underworld' lays on the brass band a little too thick and turns into a mariachi-driven la cucaracha-cha-cha, which is clearly out of place, but the return to purpose on latest single 'Don’t Mess With Me' rights the ship with a fist-pumping chorus and throat-shredding vocal which also demonstrates the rest did her vocal chords a world of good.

The production by her Spinnerette bassist Alain Johannes is as in-your-face as expected, like being locked in a closet-sized recording studio with Phil Spector and a stack of Marshalls cranked to 11. She even tries her hand at a cloying, synth-driven ballad ('Carry On'), but such an attempt to bottle this greased lightning falls flat and ends up sounding like a pathetic No Doubt retread. (Note to Brody: lose the piano, dear).

The attention-grabbing lead single 'Meet the Foetus/Oh the Joy seems autobiographical, but what the fuck’s the deal with that 20 cent drumkit which sounds like someone’s banging the aluminum siding on my house. Shirley (Garbage) Manson is supposedly helping out on vocals, but she must’ve been on a fag break when they cut the master, ‘cause I sure can’t hear her, unless she’s the one relegated to the “ooh-ee-oohs” in the background. Jeez, if you’re gonna score some big-name talent to help move some units, the least you can do is give her something to fucking SING! Nice driving beat, though.

And that attempt at soulful, girl-group grooviness ('I Don’t Need Your Love') is just wrong on so many levels. If we’re buying a Brody Dalle record, we want to RAWK and hear some cussin’ and growlin’, not imitating Smokey Robinson. Leave the lullabies at home for putting the little ones to sleep, not us! And we really didn’t need to hear the reality show soundbites from the little tykes thrown in there either. 

Thank God the stomping, heart-pounding 'Blood in Gutters' is back on point (but, Jesus, get a proper drum kit next time – or a producer who knows how to record them), and I think I hear the marvelous Emily Kokal from El Lay’s finest all-girl band, Warpaint, cooing some backing vox to add to the delight. Things do end on an upbeat note with the marching beat of early single 'Parties for Prostitutes', featuring another strong vocal and anthemic guitar riffs.

So… There are a few killer tunes that make the album worth hearing, but a strong editor is needed to cut out the pretentious cinema verite, home-movie shit. Then drop the ballads, hire a proper drummer (and kit), and next time out we’ll have one helluva shithot album. Till then, it’s an A for effort, but a frustrating B- for execution on this eagerly anticipated, but slightly disappointing return to the spotlight.

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