Spinnerette | Spinnerette
Most Likely To: rock a horny guy’s world.
Brody Dalle is, as the kids today might say, ungodly hot. That’s not even really a matter of opinion–it can be proven scientifically with charts and graphs. If all six billion or so souls on this planet were rated on their general attractiveness, Dalle would land somewhere in the top three percentile.
While some might question the place of such observations in a consideration of Dalle’s artistic output, it really is at the core of her appeal. While her previous band, The Distillers, were a perfectly good punk band, it was Dalle’s tattooed, faux-hawked yumminess that garnered the group more notice than the 657,013 other perfectly good punk bands toiling away to little fanfare during the same period. And it’s not like Dalle would be offended by such a seeming digression anyway; she knows the score well enough that she graced the back cover of her new combo Spinnerette’s debut long-player with a close-up photo of what seems to be her own frankly splendid derriere in sheer skivvies. If the oft-cited equation of rock & roll = sex is a mathematical certainty, then Dalle has no issues occupying either side of the equal sign.
So anyhow, now that it’s been established that Dalle brings the sexy, how does she do with the rock & roll? She did well enough with The Distillers, who did indeed rock and by their final album, Coral Fang, had actually gotten to the point where they could do so with an occasional memorable hook to go with the volume and velocity. With Spinnerette, she clearly intends to get a more balanced mix between craft and chaos. To that end, in addition to Distillers holdover Tony Bevilacqua on bass, the ripe young peach brings in a couple of grizzled old coots to help her polish up the pop end of things.
Jack Irons has percussed for seemingly every band west of the Rockies, most notably Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, while the Spock-browed Chilean Alain Johannes has been nosing around the California music scene since at least the Gold Rush. Johannes arguably has even more riding on Spinnerette than Dalle does. Indeed, while he’s been associated with more bands than Cynthia Plastercaster (including Dalle’s spouse Josh Homme’s lengthily named Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal), his own bands What is This, Walk the Moon, and Eleven are mainly remembered for not being particularly memorable. Spinnerette is his big chance to make a name with what could arguably be considered his own band and, not having the consolation of being a pretty girl to fall back on if the band falls on its face, he’s obviously aiming to make it count.
To that end, Johannes’ production and arrangements buff up the music to a glossy sort of post-grunge power pop, while Dalle does her part by supplying hooks that hit the mark more often than not and enough personality to make people give a damn. Guitars snarl, roar, slink or slide at the appropriate times, and Dalle spits out her vocals with conviction enough to earn her a deserved spot in the lineage of tough chicks that runs from Suzi Quatro through Joan Jett to her most obvious godmother, Courtney Love.
Standouts include “Ghetto Love,” the title track of Spinnerette’s debut EP reprised here, the very Hole-like “All Babes Are Wolves,” “Sex Bomb,” and the amped up sea chantey “Baptized By Fire.” There are a couple of less memorable tunes towards the end, before the atypical “Impaler” shows up sounding for all the world like the long-M.I.A. goth goddess Danielle Dax. The album’s weakest track, the lumbering “A Prescription for Mankind,” is helpfully saved for the end of the album, by which time most people are ready to be doing something else anyway so it’s not much of a loss for them to turn off the disc player around that time.
While it might be a stretch to call this a great album, it’s accurate to call it a very good one. All in all, Spinnerette shows Brody Dalle to indeed be more than just her pretty face, and that Alain Johannes may finally be ready for his moment in the spotlight.