CD Reviews

L7

Slap-Happy

Wax Tadpole Records

I was sure I'd be L7's next bass player. I know the songs. I can't exactly play them, but I was certain Donita Sparks would be glad for someone to take it off her hands sans audition (Sparks laid down the bass, sang and played guitar on Slap-Happy—think of her as the CD's MVP). But L7 already dissed me for another: Janis Tanaka (formerly of San Francisco's Stone Fox), who helped rock Linda's Doll Hut recently when the ladies played most of their new stuff for the first time in front of their fans. And Slap-Happy is tight, fusing punk, humor, melodies and screaming guitars with feminism and angst, rounded out by Suzi Gardner's added guitar and vocals and Dee Plakas' whup-ass drums. "Crackpot Baby" flexes the girls' vocal chords with three-part harmonies —I envision them singing a cappella on street corners, scaring the crap out of homeless people. "Lackey" screams with bracing, honest selfishness: "I want a lackey/Could be you/My friend has one/And I want one, too/Light my smokes/Fill my glass/Pucker up and kiss my big white ass." Now, that's what I'm talking about! "Freezer Burn" makes me feel all cold inside, but the ladies' warming vocals pick away the ice like a Goodwill fridge in need of defrosting. They aren't afraid of change, either, getting a little dope on "Freeway," a hip-hop-influenced track. On "Livin' Large"—which these ladies are—they belt out their own brand of life-affirming, motivational schlop: "Get some lemons/ Make some kick-ass lemonade." So sit down, shut up and listen.

 
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