L7 Slap-Happy

On their sixth full-length release, Slap Happy, L7 have formed their own label, Wax Tadpole Records, and in conjunction with Bong Load, have released their most relaxed and varied record yet. There are lots of signature L7 riff-rocking numbers like “Crackpot Baby,” “Long Green” and “Mantra Down,” which stand out as the best on the record. “Livin’ Large” and “Freezer Burn” are both slow, guitar-driven, effects-heavy ballads that we’ve also come to expect from the band. As for the sparse, hip-hop based “Freeway,” which the bio refers to as “the feel bad dance hit of the year,” the results are a lot less successful. The song is kind of fun, but in the final analysis it just sounds like a Len outtake. Another problem with the record is its overall sound, which is somewhat sterile and lacking in energy, especially compared to previous L7 releases. Slap Happy is still a fairly solid record despite its few shortcomings, but as with any band who’ve been going as long as L7, it’s mainly going to be the already loyal fans who’ll really dig this. (Wax Tadpole)