My first reaction to seeing the cover and hearing the first song of Sandy Dillon’s album, Nobody’s Sweetheart was to immediately think of Milla Jovovich, another oddly voiced, eyeliner-heavy chanteuse who can at times evoke beauty and at times raise the hair on the back of your neck. I wasn’t too far off, but I can say that with each listen, Nobody’s Sweetheart grows on me. But first, who is Sandy Dillon? Well, she had a pair of albums produced by Mick Ronson, but who would have known since only one was released and then quickly faded into obscurity after her record label cut her? Throw on top of that her husband dying in 2001 and you have a recipe for someone who could have easily given up. Not so, Sandy Dillon.
Ms. Dillon mixes elements of the songwriting, voice, and style of Patti Smith, the mystery and allure of P.J. Harvey, and the early trip-hop music reminiscent of Bjork’s. At first, her somewhat `little girl / Macy Gray’ like voice can be somewhat grating and I’m still not completely used to it, but it fits the music well and she has great delivery.
“Feel the Way I Do” sounds like it could be a Julee Cruise a cappella for another David Lynch movie. Don’t be dismayed by the opening track, however, as it is unlike any of the other songs on the album. It acts as somewhat of an introductory poem with sparse instrumentation, concentrating entirely on Dillon’s voice. “It Must Be Love” is more indicative of what can be found on the rest of the album and kicks off the remaining tracks properly.
The cover art and lyrics are definitely indicators of Sandy Dillon’s message of feminism, if you couldn’t tell from the album title. The back cover shows an art installation piece of a milking machine, while the insert art features a drawing of a cow with breasts instead of udders. So, fans of Ani DiFranco, again P.J. Harvey, and other politically minded artists, take note, Sandy Dillon might be the new voice you’re looking for!
So by the time the album ended, I was less reminded of Milla Jovovich, especially her ultra-bad turn on the soundtrack The Million Dollar Hotel, and more reminded of some great female artists who have dared to be different, to be themselves, and to speak their minds.
Joanna Newsom- Milk-Eyed Mender
P.J. Harvey- To Bring You My Love
Patti Smith- Trampin’