For those not in the know, Brody Dalle, lead singer of the Distillers, was recently divorced from her husband Tim Armstrong, lead singer of Rancid. If you did not know this, once you listen to Coral Fang, you certainly will.
Most every song on the album seems to have been written on the subject of the separation, in one form or another. Lyrically, Coral Fang feels like an album that Dalle needed to write to exorcise her demons.
The lead single, “Drain The Blood,” ends with the refrain, “He’s gone away.” “Dismantle Me” states “I was sent to cut you loose.” “The Hunger” seems to be her final goodbye to Tim, as she yells “Hold onto the memory, it’s all you got.”
Musically speaking, however, the album is much less cathartic. This is the band’s major label debut, and it certainly shows. Gone is the raw, pissed-off feel of the group’s first two records. It has been replaced by a nice glossy pop sheen courtesy of former Pixies producer Gil Norton.
All the conventions of a major label debut are there, including the obligatory acoustic snippet (“The Hunger”). This move might not be unexpected, though. The Distillers always did sound like a punk version of Hole, especially with Brody’s throaty scream. Now that they are working with better production values, the comparisons are even more appropriate.
Fans of The Distillers older stuff will not be entirely disappointed.
The last track of the album, “Death Sex,” is a warp speed ripper, followed inexplicably by 8 minutes of feedback. It’s a shame you have to wait until the end of album to get to it.