Le Tigre

Riot grrls no more

Kathleen Hanna helped pioneer the "riot grrrl" movement during the early '90s in the group Bikini Kill, which melded feminist politics with punk-rock fury. Since disbanding Bikini Kill in 1998 and founding Le Tigre, she's sort of come full circle. Certainly, Le Tigre's music is of a different ilk. While there's still a bit of punkish crush in its attack, the pop sensibilities seem equally salient. Quirky, New Wave rhythms drive the songs on the wheels of hummable hooks, reinforced by the clickety-clack of drum machine programming, which contributes to the raw, amateurish energy of the band's albums. Le Tigre's provisional membership in the once-burgeoning electroclash movement probably is what encouraged Universal to sign the group to a deal, because while its new album, This Island, is the perfect example of its craft, that doesn't mean it's particularly radio-ready. It is punchy and catchy, with a strong dance undercurrent, and an improvement on the last album, Feminist Sweepstakes, with everything just that much more focused and attuned. But a major label still feels like a strange bedfellow for such an openly counterculture act.

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