Ani DiFranco moves off in different directions here. Firstly though, Dilate
has a softer sound than her previous albums, and also leaves the impression that 'something' had happened to her. I don't know if that is the case or not - but it's like she's suffered in the years between Out of Range
and this album.
Firstly, both "Untouchable Face" and "Napoleon" have astonishing lyrics, and secondly, both utilize variations of the word 'fuck', as in 'fuck you'. "Untouchable Face" is the more 'playful' of the two songs, if that's the correct word to use, perhaps not, but it features pretty softly-strummed guitar and good lyrics. As for "Napoleon", that comes across as a very angry song lyrically - but even here, although sounding almost resigned to some kind of fate, DiFranco's vocals are beautiful. It's a very powerful track, with the lyrics and guitar and tone of her voice all combining perfectly.
In terms of DiFranco moving off in different musical directions, there's the distortion of "Outta Me, Onto You", and the programmed drumbeats of the rather down-beat "Going Down", which is funky and soulful, murmering and mumbling. It's not quite as pretty as previous material, but DiFranco turns her hand to this style very well. And the traditional "Amazing Grace" is given a rather radical make-over - are those hip-hop beats? - she doesn't so much sing, as inhabit the space the track provides.
Although "Superhero" is an example of a more old-style DiFranco tune, where the guitar twists and sounds great, drops out in places, only to return in full swing, the otherwise relaxed kind of sound on Dilate
- as opposed to the nervy, anxious, driving guitar that so characterised her earlier work - makes the album a clear departure / evolution from previous DiFranco albums.Rated:
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews