As the frontwoman and primary songwriter for The Distillers, Brody Dalle put out three of the hardest and best punk rock records of the aughts. Suddenly, it was 2003 and the band had flamed out. For those that haven't heard a peep from Dalle in the ten years since her band (The Distillers) went kaput, now is a good time to get caught up. With motherhood and the expected maturity that a decade brings, as well as an ill-fated band (Spinnerette), Dalle has softened a bit, moving the vocal needle more towards P!nk than Courtney Love. She may not have the anger and nihilism that punched her scratchy voice through your eardrums but she still knows how to write songs.
Dalle's solo debut, Diploid Love, isn't just an out-and-out pop record, though. "Rat Race" reminds you right away that Brody is still a willing and able downward strummer. The twist in her sound are the keyboards that add texture and also a New York Dolls-y undercurrent. She digs deep for her gutteral rasp and belts out "Don't Mess With Me". The atmosphere created through most of the album by Dalle producer Alain Johannes is, as weird as it is to say, hopeful. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the meat of the record. The gorgeous upward spiral of "Dressed in Dreams", the upbeat "Carry On", and the transparent parental "Meet the Foetus".
Brody Dalle screams, sings, and coos her way through this diverse effort. There are guests spots from Garbage's Shirley Manson, among others, but Brody doesn't need any gimmicks to improve this solo debut. Just like in her other bands, it's clear whose show this. She may be older, less angry, and more radio friendly, but she is still an artist to be reckoned with.
Diploid Love is available digitally now. The LP and CD are released on May 19 from Caroline.