The Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle is no stranger to the SoCal music community-the Australian native was wed to Rancid's Tim Armstrong until she left him for Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, causing the biggest rock 'n' roll ruckus since Courtney Love left town. Dalle's actions have brought finger-pointing from the likes of Kelly Osbourne and punk geeks everywhere, but as she proves on Coral Fang, the Distillers' third full-length, this girl is no poseur: just listen to "Drain the Blood," the album's opening track, and you'll have to agree.
"I'm living on shattered faith/ The kind that likes to restrict your breath," Dalle cries with faultless intensity on the opening number, setting the stage for themes of death, sex, love, and hate. Lyrically, all eleven songs are variations on the same emotional tightrope; musically, however, the Distillers extend the traditional four-chord repertoire with forays into acoustic guitar work ("The Hunger"), sing-a-long ska-influenced punk ("Die on a Rope") and Wendy O. Williams-induced rants (the eleven-minute long "Deathsex").
One of the most exciting albums of 2003, Coral Fang is not without a few missteps.
The dirgey "The Gallow Is God" breaks the momentum of the first three tracks for no good reason, and "Deathsex" is sure to put the brakes on any amorous intentions. But overall, Dalle's unbottled rage hits home with unerring accuracy. Simultaneously ballsy and little-girl vulnerable, Dalle manages to balance her anger with a little sadness and a whole lotta self-respect. She dumped Armstrong, she sold out, she sucks-surely the naysayers will be drowned out by the power of Coral Fang.