The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum

L7

Slash / Reprise Records, 1997

http://l7theband.com

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/08/1997

I'm a sucker for grrrl groups. It started when I was 6, screaming "I Love Rock N' Roll!", from Joan Jett, and continues today when I was humming the Cycle Sluts From Hell song "I Wish You Were a Beer!" today at work. And no one wears the crown of this genre better than L7.

After their last album, Hungry For Stink, L7 appeared to be K-Tel bound, having only one hit, "Pretend We're Dead", off their Bricks Are Heavy album. They came back with a vengeance this year with The Beauty Process:Triple Platinum. The album is the best release from L7 so far, and hopefully the "triple platinum" part of the album title will come true for them.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

There's enough hits on this album to render it triple platinum. Original bassist Jennifer Finch has left for college and former Belly bassist Gail Greenwood has taken her place. She fits in perfectly with the band. The chemistry is evident from the start of the album. The band has never sounded this unified. From the slamming, kick ass opening of "Drama", it only gets better from there.

The album is solid all around, but the best track is undoubtedly, "Off The Wagon". It's a hilarious ode to getting schlossed and with lyrics like "Oh shit I lost my ID/hook up the Jagermeister IV," this sould be the summer anthem of '97.

Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner wrote all the lyrics to The Beauty Process. Both of them share guitar duties also and its interesting to see the differing styles the two possess. Sparks is the more mellow, melody-oriented and Gardner is the aggressive howler. Most of the songs on the album deal with some form of anger, be it a full, pissed off release like "I Need" or a more subtle approach, as in "Bitter Wine".

As heavy as L7 are, the group really shows its depth in the slower numbers on The Beauty Process. They even show some innovation by having Lionel Richie pop in for a cameo on "Moonshine". In "Non-Existant Patricia," a somber account of a helpless wallflower, the band gets downright moody. The vulnerability of Sparks's voice on that song almost made me forget this is coming from the same band that threw a used tampon at a troublesome fan (top that Courtney Love, or GWAR for that matter).

The album could have used another slow number to make a truly great balance between their pensiveness and their grab your balls aggression. When L7 gets too aggressive, they usually stumble like in the track "Bad Things". The last track, "Lorenza, Giada, Alessandra," may be head banging material for a live show, but it doesn't fit in well with the other tracks.

The general consensus of the album comes from the song "The Masses Are Asses," when Gardner sings, "I still get angry/I still get pissed". Though they may have slowed down a bit, they still have enough targets to hit for a good four or five more albums. For now though..bring on the drama!

Rating: B+

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© 1997 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Slash / Reprise Records, and is used for informational purposes only.