Hole, "Nobody's Daughter"

77 Billboard Rating

"You don't understand how damaged we really are," Courtney Love snarls on "Nobody's Daughter," the title track to Hole's first new album in nearly 12 years. Even after the long absence from the music scene, the alt-rock outfit is still unflinchingly intense, while frontwoman Love displays surprising range as a songwriter. Lead single "Skinny Little Bitch" chugs along until a breakneck climax, while the piano-led "For Once in Your Life" offers a somber tale of withering love. The band utilizes a large palette of influences on "Nobody's Daughter," drawing upon Sonic Youth's noisy abandon for some tracks and the honest lyricism of early Liz Phair for others. With three new instrumentalists-guitarist Micko Larkin, bassist Shawn Daily and drummer Stuart Fisher-behind her, Love sounds as self-assured as ever, sliding over syllables and hitting the emotional high notes. "Nobody's Daughter" recalls the highlights of the band's critically acclaimed 1994 album, "Live Through This," and shows that, as a band, Hole is not one bit damaged.