Donita Sparks was once a member of the all-girl grunge band,
L7. But while Sparks sings tough during much of Transmiticate,
this disc is the furthest thing possible from loose 'n loud grunge.
Instead, much of it gives the listener flashbacks to '80s rock - particularly
Missing Persons, of all reference points!?!?! With its choppy
guitar part and tightened, Dale Bozzio-esque girl scream vocal,
"Dare Dare" is like a blast from the hairspray past. One
almost expects to hear an MTV VJ break in as soon as it's over.
Whereas Missing Persons tried hard to be relevant then fell on its
face with embarrassing failure, Sparks' Stellar Moments have
created a consistent disc full of tracks well worth remembering. And
the presence of Jesika von Rabbit (of artier-than-thou Gram
Rabbit) only adds to this CD's adventurous spirit. Although Sparks
mostly acts odd for oddity's sake, she's dead serious on the slightly
crassly titled "Curtains For Cathy", which bemoans the untimely
death of young girl. "A lot of people die around Thanksgiving,"
Sparks deadpans. The track is also enhanced by a big, twang-y electric
Except for its robotically 4/4 disco beat, "He's Got the Honey"
is about as close as Transmiticate ever gets to grunge. Over
a thudding groove, Sparks sings it like thug's toughest leather clad
girlfriend. Much the same can be said of "Into The Hi Fi",
which - despite its audiophile title - is simple, straight forward
hard rock. Once again, co-producer Ethan Allen brings up a
different set of punchy beats that play nicely with noisy guitars.
At a time when grunge nostalgia is on the rise - witness the recent
reunion of Stone Temple Pilots -Donita Sparks is a wonderful
poster child for musical evolution. Transmiticate never fails
to shoot up sparks of creativity, while it leaves threadbare flannel
shirts for the thrift store.
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