L7 - Wargasm – The Slash Years 1992-1997
(HNE Recordings / Cherry Red Records – 2021)
In a nutshell, the bands three albums released as a 3 CD Digipack set that originally came out on Slash Records. I personally discovered Donita Sparks and her wild female gang via the 'Pretend We're Dead' video that was aired on MTV back in the day that Beavis & Butthead had a soft sot for too if I remember right.
'Bricks Are Heavy' (1992) is an essential album of the day and still is that shows that women had the rock 'n' punk grunge balls like their male counterparts of the era – dare I say an alternate Girlschool meets The Breeders with more b*ll*cks – if that makes sense!?
Standouts include the ever-dependable battling opener, 'Wargasm'; that's followed up by the masterclass arrangement in mood and musicality 'Pretend We're Dead' which broke the band into the big league. Then later on, one of my personal faves that is 'Sh*tlist' with it's tongue-in-cheek, tell-it-how-it-is venomous lyrics. They even had the bare-faced cheek and sheer audacity to do a cracking version of a Guns 'N' Roses classic and retitle it 'Used To Love Him' as a B-Side that appears as a bonus track on here! Classic!
'Hungry For Stink' (1994) is a bit like the previous album but does not hold up song-wise at all and as my buddy Saul Bennet says, the only one he remembers is 'Andre' – the single that opens the album. A lot of noisy forgettable rah-rah punky stuff or quite frankly depressing to be honest and simply gives you a headache. Not impressive at all, sadly. I lost the will to even play the bonus cuts.
Third album, 'The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum' (1997) improves on the predecessor that but is very much going through the motions and not a lot of real creativity – at times coming across like a desperate female equivalent Nirvana with two or three good songs thrown in like the fast rockin' humour of 'Off The Wagon' & the never needed 'Drama'; the punchy punk rock of 'Bad Things'. It's as though they were going through a real bad patch compared to the bright coolness of their debut.
Oh well, at least Bricks' was a fine start. I was just expecting the other albums to match it but it simply wasn't the case in my own humble opinion.
By Glenn Milligan