Brody Dalle

Diploid Love

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On the Distillers' Coral Fang and Spinnerette's self-titled album, Brody Dalle took baby steps toward tempering her punk rock fire without snuffing it out completely. She completes the journey on her solo debut, Diploid Love, which, from its biologically inspired title on down, reflects motherhood's impact on her life and music ("I Don't Need Your Love" even samples recordings of her children). It's fitting, then, that these songs are something of a creative rebirth, balancing the Distillers' catharsis and Spinnerette's poppier approach with a more controlled attack. Of course, what's considered controlled by Dalle's standards is still pretty raw, and Diploid Love opens with a string of fist-punching songs like "Rat Race," where her snarls still evoke forebears like Joan Jett and Courtney Love, and are still remarkably satisfying. It's in subtle touches like "Underworld"'s brass-driven choruses and "Don't Mess with Me"'s brash devotion ("You're the reason I can stay/And fight until death") that Dalle's more mature outlook first surfaces; later on, her rage on "Parties for Prostitutes" is withering rather than explosive. Musically and emotionally, she's far more nuanced on Diploid Love than ever before, moving from rockers to confessional ballads in ways that always feel natural. On "Dressed in Dreams" and "Carry On," she's empowering and inspirational without seeming saccharine. This feeling peaks on "Meet the Foetus/Oh the Joy," a uniquely rapturous take on being a mother that features backing vocals by Shirley Manson and Warpaint's Emily Kokal. Dalle sounds comfortable, confident, and liberated on Diploid Love, and she gives listeners a more complete portrait of her artistry along the way.

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