L7 Visualize Success

Consistency is not something oft associated with the world of rock and

roll, but L7 have their brand of rock fury down pat. Together now for just

over a decade, L7 have been churning out albums of consistent quality

since their first release in 1987 on Epitaph Records. With their latest

album, The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum, L7 once again showcase

their tough, guitar-laden talent also revealing in their lyrics an ironic

wittiness much less explored in their previous releases.

With the departure of bassist Jennifer Finch, the entire album was

recorded by the three remaining band members. Bassist Gail Greenwood (of

Belly fame) joined the band after the completion of the album and despite

the lineup change L7 is rocking harder than ever.

Undoubtably, some of the toughest women in rock, L7 kick off the album

with a 58 second tribute to the beauty process. This is quickly followed

by a track that is vintage L7 called "Drama". Initially, I was somewhat

confused by the first line which I took to be "One, one, one and one is

two." However to my relief, upon closer inspection of the lyric sheet the

actual words turned out to be "wah wah one and one is two." Having cleared

up this miscalculation I was free to enjoy the rest of the song which is

forcefully propelled along by a driving drum beat pumped out by L7's most

excellent drummer Dee Plakas. Another ironic gem of wisdom in the song:

"My piss is yellow and the sky is blue." Um..yeah. The song contains a

totally metal-esque solo and by the end of it you remember just why it was

that you thought L7 was so cool.

Next is a freaky honky tonk piano enhanced song appropriated titled "Off

the Wagon." An anthem for the alcoholic responsibility recognized and

promptly ignored by most of us, a key line is: "Hit every bar on the

boulevard/ Bad idea yeah you're probably right/ But I won't be a

designated driver tonight/ Off the wagon and on the town." This track

deviates from past L7 tunes in that it introduces their more pop

influenced side. Their lyrics also reveal a sense of humor and lack of

angst that is refreshing, "Just how much I've embarrassed myself/Well I

haven't got a clue/ Did I throw a drink in your face/ Or tell how much I

love you/ Oh shit I lost my ID/ Hook up the Jagermeister IV."

The next song, "I Need", is so repetitive its only redeeming feature is

the backup vocals which remind me of the theme song to The Good, The

Bad and The Ugly.

"Moonshine" starts off with a count-in contributed by none other than

Lionel Ritchie. The song could almost ride of the novelty of this alone

but it must be mentioned that this tune is probably the closest to a

ballad that L7 will ever come. It also has noteworthy backup vocals which

consist of "la la la la's" that pay tribute to the girl super groups of

the past.

"Bitter Wine" utilizes a supercool guitar effect that makes it sound like

the band is playing in a bubbly aquarium. With vocals that sound

disturbingly like Courtney Love, this song has a bridge that harkens back

to the noise guitars of Sonic Youth.

My favorite song on the album is track seven, "The Masses are Asses." Not

only does the title rule, but music rocks out with the evenly distorted

guitars that are signature L7.

"I still get angry, I still get sad, And the losers still drive me mad And

I wonder if I have anything to say anymore except The masses are asses.

They're all asses. Things still piss me off, and things still make me mad

Poetry's in motion but not in my mind."

Although this point might have been belabored in past articles, in

addition to being a successful rock band L7 have extended the boundaries

of cool by putting their popularity and power to good use in the formation

and support of 'Rock for Choice' an organization that works in conjunction

with the Feminist Majority Foundation.

"Must Have More" describes a relationship gone wrong. It starts off with

the catchiest riff on the album and also contains the best solo.

Her mouth is calling you, His hands are empty. My brain is

drying out, It was so hungry Must have more love for you My eyes are cold

and cracked, She cried a river He pulls his hair right out- tires to

forgive her Its in the atmosphere, You cannot hide it So many long sharp

tongues keep us divided

The album closes with an originally improvised song honoring three fans of

the group, "Lorenza, Giada, Alessandra." Basically, along with a couple of

"I love yous" those three names are the only words to the song. Yes, it is

repetitive, but its okay because then albums over.

And so what can be said of this album? At worst it is consistent to the

point of over repetition and at best it is the culmination of a decade's

worth of experience following a great rock band. Shaken by the departure

of a longtime bassist and with the excitement of a new member, L7 are

ushering in a new era. To me, The Beauty Process is an album that

signifies a band in transition for the first time in a long while, en

route to finding their rightful place in the world of rock and roll.