Spinnerette

Spinnerette

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AllMusic Review by

The passing of four years and a different name should be enough clues that Spinnerette are a far cry from Brody Dalle's previous band, the Distillers, but the extent of just how different Spinnerette is still might shock longtime fans. The Distillers' swan song, Coral Fang, was polished compared to melees like Sing Sing Death House, but Spinnerette's state-of-the-art California trash-pop is buffed to such a high shine that it almost feels subversive compared to Dalle's previous piss and vinegar. These songs are unapologetically slick and hooky, with more in common with bandmate Alain Johannes' other project, Queens of the Stone Age -- whose leader, Josh Homme, is also married to Dalle -- than Dalle and Tony Bevilacqua's Distillers roots. That's not the only influence on Spinnerette, though. "Ghetto Love" recalls the Kills' sleekly deconstructed rock, while "Geeking" nods to Joan Jett's sass. Next to its slick production, Spinnerette's biggest surprise is Dalle's voice. Her rasp now has melody, spanning "All Babes Are Wolves"' keening highs to "Cupid"'s gravelly lows. Almost as surprising is the album's lighthearted mood: Dalle used to sing about love and sex like they were a matter of life or death, but "Sex Bomb" is just good dirty fun. Though things are less complicated in Spinnerette's world than they were in the Distillers', the music is more eclectic, and some of the biggest departures from Dalle's past make for the most interesting moments. "Baptized by Fire"'s ├╝ber-pop processed beats and keyboards are a bit daring given her punk past; "Distorting a Code" and "The Walking Dead" show some vulnerability along with some unabashedly pretty melodies; and "Impaler"'s witchy folk-rock channels Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain." While Dalle and crew try on these different sounds and make most of them fit, they take a few missteps; many songs go on longer than they should, especially the droning stoner blues of "A Prescription for Mankind," which closes the album and dulls the impact of what came before it. Spinnerette also feels a bit overcooked at times, possibly because of the long time it took to make. At its best, however, Spinnerette shows what Dalle can do outside of the Distillers' context, and suggests that maturity and life after punk rock can actually be fun.

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