Grunge act back with first album in 20 years

Co-fronted by a pair of singer/guitarists, Donita Sparks and Suzi Gardner, L7 got its start in the mid-'80s but entered pop culture in the early '90s with a self-titled debut, opening slots for Nirvana and an MTV hit in sludgy slacker-anthem “Pretend We're Dead.”

The band never quite achieved the mainstream success that some of its grunge contemporaries did, and by the early 2000s it fizzled out. But in 2017 a documentary, “L7: Pretend We're Dead,” brought the band back into the collective consciousness, and earlier this month L7 released its first album in 20 years, Scatter the Rats, on Joan Jett's Blackheart Records.

Most of the new record, unfortunately, feels pretty uninspired. The band likes to talk about how it plays “meat and potatoes” rock, which is fine, but that descriptor seems to function more as an excuse than a benefit on Scatter the Rats. “Murky Water Cafe,” with its cringe-inducing shout of, “Free wifi, come on down!” is probably the weakest of the new batch.

Still, L7 can get by on snarling attitude and loud guitars, not to mention a deep catalogue with plenty of highlights, so this Express Live show will likely provide at least some distortion-soaked nostalgia. (Think twice)