Itís been a while since Brody Dalle disappeared off the proverbial map. Since the 2003 release of Coral Fang from her former band, the Distillers, Dalleís life has dramatically changed. Now a mother and a divorcee, Spinnerette is a new path for the former Mrs. Armstrong, in both a creative and a literal sense.
The Ghetto Love EP is short and sweet -- four songs of a dark, electro-infused, guitar-layered punk rock mashup that varies from song to song in its atmosphere and mood. The opening title track exudes a dirty party vibe, and it could be easily imagined as the soundtrack to an evening of excess spent in a crooked backalley basement party somewhere in the deep, dark underbelly of a grim, urban industrial landscape.
'Valium Nights' has the band sounding most like the Distillers, probably due in part to the presence of a non-electronic drumkit; but also, because the structure of the song follows a more traditional guitar-driven melody and without Tony Bevilacquaís Darker My Love-style guitars wailing in the background, the song wouldnít have been at all out of place on Coral Fang.
A shock to the system follows with track number 3, "Distorting the Code," which sees Dalleís vocal raise in tone to near-falsetto. The track is undoubtedly dark, again tinged with electro instrumentation that is minimalist in form (including some nicely placed keys) as Dalle cries out hauntingly "I donít need the answers when I got no place to goÖ How do I find my way back home?"
The familiar and welcoming sound of distorted power chords returns for the finale, "Bury My Heart," and again, while the dregs of the Distillers can be detected in this song, Dalle appears to be charting new ground here, albeit in her own way. Those expecting her to return to the music scene with an album of candid love ballads about her new child and love affair with Josh Homme will be disappointed, as she bleakly drawls "Iíve been known to waste sanity / I know thereís nothing left In silence / Iíve been known to waste / Itís a waste / Itís a wave goodbye."
Overall, this EP is solid, interesting and at times almost challenging. Some will undoubtedly hate it, especially those who are acquainted with the earliest Distillers material only. Others, however, will inevitably love it. Dalle is clearly in a transitionary phase and it will be interesting to see the direction that Spinnerette take in the next 12 months, for it seems that in creative terms Dalle is seeking out uncharted waters, emancipated by the chains of her former project which she so clearly felt restrained by.