album reviews

Donita Sparks & the Stellar Moments
SparksFly Records (2008)

Nine years after her grunge band L7's final studio album, Donita Sparks has released her first solo record, and, unexpectedly, it's more electro-dance than punk. Sparks does maintain her dark edge (this is by no means bubblegum pop), but the innately danceable beats and her sultry vocals on "He's Got the Honey" are a surprising twist on the sound she cultivated for 15 years with her former band.

The Sparks of yesteryear is not far beneath the surface, though: her impassioned wail on "Need to Numb" and "Infancy of a Disaster" harks back to her outspoken past, and her backing band, the Stellar Moments, includes former L7 drummer Dee Plakas. Sparks might be a bit generous with that band name, as there are no truly stellar moments ("My Skin's Too Thin," in particular, is so delicate that it's tough to take her pointed lyrics seriously), but "Transmiticate" is an intriguing blend of her grunge-rock past and a new pop-rock influence.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 13 June 2008, Page WE08
.: Transmiticate on