Music

Spinnerette: Spinnerette

Former face of The Distillers exudes a blending of confidence and vulnerablity on this flawed debut.


Spinnerette

Spinnerette

Label: Anthem
US Release Date: 2009-06-16
UK Release Date: 2009-06-15
Amazon
iTunes

If the mid-90s rock scene was a dumping ground for post-grunge projects and budding alt-rock diamonds in the rough, then it seems that Spinnerette would be right at home on a side stage at Lollapalooza circa ‘94. And that’s not meant as a knock, really, but more of an affirmation that the band’s more obvious inclinations have been successfully communicated. After all, it’s fairly easy to see that on their self-titled debut, all of the trashy, post-grunge riffing and mechanical Garbage-style production certainly suggests a mid-'90s affinity. However, what really drives it all home is front woman Brody Dalle.

Former face of the underrated and now defunct punk outfit the Distillers, and current wife to the Queen of the Stone Age himself Josh Homme, Dalle exudes a blending of confidence and vulnerability on Spinnerette halfway between Kim Deal and Courtney Love that carries with it an elemental significance that only helps spark to life the more dreary portions of the LP. She still makes sure to bring with her some of the snarling punk personality that put her on the map to begin with, but it is precisely her mixture of identity that finds Spinnerette so intriguing, if not always satisfying.

Complete with anti-pop facades and even some honest-to-God, fade-out track endings to boot, Spinnerette acts as a weird time capsule that has been unearthed just a bit too soon. It’s a curious throwback that gets more curious as it trudges along through all of its digitized breakdowns and fuzzed up grunge guitars. Spinnerette mostly comes off like some long abandoned Butch Vig production that he was only half invested in and would rather not talk about anyway. But that’s not to say that the album is bad. As far as debuts go, it is probably one of the more fascinating of 2009. For lack of a better term, Spinnerette is just…odd.

It’s not that Dalle doesn’t know how to write hooks; though , admittedly, her melodic dissonance is more troubling than it is compelling. Songs like the cheeky “Geeking", and the more than satisfying album opener “Ghetto Love” do provide convincing arguments to the contrary, however. And it’s not that Dalle can’t find a balance between punk posturing and the less visceral swagger evident in some of her lyrical playfulness, but there is never a real meeting point between the tools used on the LP and the contraption that those tools wish to design. In other words, it’s all method and no madness. It comes off sounding cold, mechanical, and slightly detached.

“All Babes Are Wolves” is one of the more impressive showings of Dalle’s hook-minded leanings. A pristine production of bells and whistles coupled with those calculated scars and warts that gives everything that imperfect perfect tone. A barely punk, mostly poppy, grunge throwback the hooks come fast and heavy, providing a blueprint for the album that could have been. Unfortunately, Spinnerette is more interested in less immediately gratifying indulgences.

Proving itself far more shallow than its deepest waters can attest to, Spinnerette is admittedly half of interesting project. However, it is also half of a bloated but ultimately empty mess. It’s a disparity that the LP never really recovers from. The fact that Dalle’s more apparent charms save a great portion of the material, doesn’t fully take away from the fact that this is, in fact, her overblown wank-fest in the first place.

While the post-punk revival is admittedly about as exciting as a freak-folk dance party at this point, one has to wonder if anyone is ready -- or needs, for that matter -- a flashback trip to 1994 just yet. Spinnerette present a sorta/kinda case for it here on their debut, but Dalle (in spite of herself) gets bogged down in the idea of it, and not so much the spirit. The end result is something full of potential, yes, but mostly just full of itself.

5
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.

Music

Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

A Lesson from the Avengers for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.

Music

Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.

Music

Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.

Books

First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?

Reviews

HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.

Music

Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.

Music

How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.

Music

Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.

Music

Paul Weller Dazzles with the Psychedelic and Soulful 'On Sunset'

Paul Weller's On Sunset continues his recent streak of experimental yet tuneful masterworks. More than 40 years into his musical career, Weller sounds as fresh and inspired as ever.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.