Great balls of fire this album kicks my arse! What the hell do these little girls think they're up to? Coming after the breakout success of their fourth album "Bricks Are Heavy" these four f'd up females return with "Hungy For Stink" and dammit, they are some pissed off and missed up broads. And they bring the music to match. Stop screaming, I can hear you, chick!
Album opens with the metal crunch of one "Andre". This is a really cool song with a real nice mid tempo riff and some good backing vocals. It only has two verses, too. Which is also cool because it still feels like a whole song. Apparently the girl needs to apologize to some dood named Andre who she had a prob with, but the song never gets far enough to let us find out what the hell is going on. And that's fine because the deep groove of the music is too good for us to care. Then comes "Baggage". This is the first of four life has fallen over the edge songs. This gal has some serious issues. Thankfully with this band they don't let that be the issue, as they rock too hard for you to notice. With their trademark fuzz tone guitars and singer/bassist Jennifer Finch's high pitched wail this song about losing your grip and sliding into the abyss is a heavy load indeed. Thick, hammering, and messy, this is a rant in the best sort of way. Then we get the heavy pop of "Can I Run". This is a great song about paranoia and has a great bass heavy sound, with the guitars hanging back and adding noisy feedback. "I'm scared every fuc.kin' day/I wear my head phones so I can't hear what you say". Hell yeahs! A girl after my own heart. Continuing this assault our loveable L7 ladies kick it into high gear for the next track "The Bomb". Goddamn, a song about terrorist? Heck no, these babes are the only thing exploding on this track. "My friction is the fuse/The flame is hate/tick tick tick /Detonate/And she's a bomb! they spit at everything fake and phony around them as they play it loud, hard, and fast. "Plastic models in plastic magazines/Plastic Kings and plastic Queens/All are seen on plastic TV's/Prayed to by people on plastic bended knees". This song rocks my socks, and kicks up a furious fuss all the while.
"Questioning My Sanity" gets the call next. This is the last of the falling over the edge songs that started with Baggage. This is just about depression. Not your average day of depression, but the "I'm saving my piss in a jar/This depression has gone too far/my as.s is sore from layin' in bed/Am I alive or am I dead" kind of depression. Luckily for us the L7 girls aren't the whiny type, as this, one of the most effective cuts on the album, is told in a matter of fact way that simply chronicles a deep slide into mental illness that only one who has been there can truly document. "The TV's talking to me/I'm questioning my sanity" our not so fair maiden wails as the band plays a simple melody behind her. The lyrics are the focus on this track, even in the mix, as the vocals are pushed way out front. And you feel every word of it.
The first half of the album finishes up with with the tuneful pop/metal instrumental "Riding With A Movie Star" and it's enough to get your butt shakin' a little or a lot, depending on who you are. The second half opens with the surprisingly dreary and dull for these gal's "Stuck Here Again" Meh, and that's exactly how this song sounds. Stuck. Obviously going for a mood to go along with the lyrics, they do too good a job of it as this song is enough to put you to sleep. And the second half of the album is in fact hit and miss for the first four songs, as the energetic and angry "Fuel My Fire" comes along next to pick up the pace with some speedy if generic riffing and course hell bent vocals only to lead to the silly and unoriginal "Freak Magnet". Now, I know this band isn't exactly about originality or being cutting edge. But like Stuck Here With You before it, this is simply not a good song. And it goes nowhere and gets tired fast. Thankfully the album finishes strong with the great mid tempo and melodic "She Has Eyes" with it's vague lyrics and echo laden dreamy guitar sound, and the triumphant ode to feminism "Shirley". This final song, played passionately and with great fervor, is just the kick in the pants this record needed to end things on a hard rockin' note. With sound bites taken from drag racer Shirley Muldoney herself and also stereotypically sexist bites taken from a sports announcer, singer Donita Sparks forcefully sings "How many times must you be told/There's nowhere that we don't go!" as this song blasts forward like Shirley herself in one of her souped up funny cars. And it makes a strong case for girls who want to drive race cars, fight wars, play loud fast guitars, or even make babies, for all anyone could care, goddamit! Yup, these chicks definitely rock.
This album is not as consistent as it's immediate predecessor, Bricks Are Heavy. Nor is it as tuneful or quite as fun with it's downer subject matter and heavier sound. But it's sure to please anyone who is fond of loud noisy guitars played with bone crushing power and genuine lyrics written straight from the gut. Dark at times, more "metal" sounding then previous efforts, and sounding like all four of these gals may have been on the rag while writing it, "Hungry For Stink" stinks up the joint in the best way possible. Sometimes the better for it, and a little the worse, it's a worthwhile listen for any fan of heavy, loud, fast music with a little edge and style all it's own. In other words, it's L7. And that is always a good thing. Rock on, babes......