The Distillers

Sing Sing Death House

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    8
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This authentic, damaged, street-kid punk outfit boasts the magnificent, mouth-full-of-marbles gutter-punk accent of Brody, wife of Rancid's Tim Armstrong. (Both slur their vocals in a similar fashion.) Improving on their very fine, self-titled debut album, their latest, Sing Sing Death House, is battle-scarred and resolute, but Brody's tough voice is more expressive than your average punker's and especially affecting when she flaunts the full range of her throaty snarl. On "Seneca Falls," an appreciation of the women's suffrage movement set to chugging guitars and a thumpity-thump bass, there's an exceptional, goosebump-inducing though unintelligible chorus, which soars above the music because of the emotional quality of Brody's howl. Otherwise, the music is quite stirring, coming from a gang of gutter-punks with lip piercings. The song "The Young Crazed Peeling" is about having a crap upbringing, surviving, and actually becoming a happily married punk. After telling the story of how her mom kicked her dad out of the house because he beat her up, Brody goes on to sing about how life has gotten better, "I love a man from California/He's the prettiest thing/We got the same disorder/The way you feel is okay/It's never going to change anyway/It hit me/I got everything I need." It's a story with an uncharacteristic ending that punks born of squalor can rise up and create music as impassioned and relatively positive as this.

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