L7: Slap-Happy

Slap-Happy (Bong Load/Wax Tadpole)

Record Reviews


Slap-Happy (Bong Load/Wax Tadpole)

The Nineties are over, and with them goes another disposable: modern rock. Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole. And now L7 -- at least if Slap-Happy is any indication. Following a hard-to-find one-off for Frank Kozik's Man's Ruin label, the live hootenanny Omaha to Osaka, L7's post-major label return to the studio is just what its title implies, Slap-Happy. Beaten 'til it's dumb. Not nearly as wretched as the band's self-titled debut for Epitaph in 1988, nor as depressing as '94's Hungry for Stink, the band's latest suffers mostly because it's not their last album for Slash, '97's hopefully named/sadly overlooked The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum. For starters, Slap-Happy doesn't have a second side, the album defying you not to rip it out of your CD player at the halfway point with the interminably annoying "Stick to the Plan," after which songs seven through 12 stagger about stupidly like a lobotomized boxer. Punk rock casualties. Starting with "Stick to the Plan," Slap-Happy is one long, nasal, wise-ass line after wise-ass line from Donita Sparks, who besides running off poor, fresh-faced bassist Gail Greenwood -- the group is back down to a trio: Sparks, Suzi Gardner, and Dee Plakas -- is quickly becoming self-parody. Even the rompy, stompy little opener, "Crackpot Baby," smacks of familiar L7 formula, while the second track, "On My Rockin' Machine," could've been a catalog classic with some work. Instead, they just Slap-Happied it together.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Raoul Hernandez
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Sept. 18, 2020

Checking In: Juliet McConkey Goes Agrarian
Juliet McConkey Goes Agrarian
Your new favorite folksinger and BF James Steinle leave town

Sept. 16, 2020

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle