Queen of Hearts
★★★★ (out of 5 stars)
There’s always been a sense of mourning or melancholy permeating Brody Dalle’s smoky voice, and that sense is at the forefront of her first true solo album. Bolstered by contributions from alt figureheads such as Garbage’s Shirley Manson, Warpaint vocalist Emily Kokal and Strokes guitarist Nick Valensi (among others), Dalle sews together nine heart-heavy entries mutated from slabs of leftover punk fury and cold new-wave apathy. Even when she’s attempting to extol what we assume is pure glee (“Meet the Foetus/Oh the Joy”) Dalle laces in regret, sarcasm and some kind of pain. Diploid Love is feeling bad that feels good, though, the sort of aching you wear as a badge of honor. So what if the horn section is mocking you? Dalle’s voice is addictive, and few other singers give us raw hurt that’s so kinetic. Hats off to producer Alain Johannes, who gave this album a great sheen without sacrificing thump.