DONITA SPARKS and THE STELLAR MOMENTS: Transmiticate: CD

It seems that L-7’s Donita Sparks has mellowed with time, but she can still get real heavy, fuzzy, and buzzy. Both the first and last tracks on this CD—“Fly Feather Fly” and “Into the HI FI” are the most rockingest, L–7ish tunes of the bunch with that familiar, dirty, wicked buzz, but it’s not punk rock…its punk-influenced rock that continues to grow on the listener with each successive listen. At first, it all sounds kind of the same, but turn it up and listen deeper. Donita is doing a lot within the slower rhythms with a lot of echo, vibrato, and multiple fluid-layers of sonic depth. Her vocals are still husky-sweet, and a distinctive sense of fun and humor floats up from the pleasantly vibrating resonance. Where L-7 was overtly angry and abrasive, this disc is definitely more laid-back, frequently introspective, with mid-tempo, head-noddingly catchy tunes that are rather trance inducing. At first, I thought “Dare Dare” was going to be an ELO cover, but it turned out to be a solid original performed with traditional ‘70s rock arrangement and a distinctly humorous edge. “He’s got the Honey” is the fuzziest of all and sounds like it could be the theme song for a punk rock kids show…tough punk kids. Yes, Ms. Sparks has evolved and grown over time and this is what it sounds like. She practically did this whole thing by herself and the others got to follow along.

 –Marcus Solomon (Sparks Fly)