Le Tigre

This Island (Strummer/Universal)

Oct 20, 2004 at 4:00 am
No woman is an island. But in 1999, New York-based electropunks Le Tigre suggested three could be. The DIY dance-punks -- fronted by Bikini Kill's sociopolitical riot grrrl Kathleen Hanna -- sounded equally idiosyncratic and didactic at the time, their sole peer being Germany's Chicks on Speed. On Le Tigre's third full-length, however, the trio merely navigates what has become an established repertoire -- hiccupped slogans, hopscotch percussion and choppy guitar. A neon-speckled sheen is applied to Hanna's crackly sample clatter; once shambolic and self-produced, she's now assisted by Nick Sansano (Public Enemy, Sonic Youth) and the Cars' Ric Ocasek. The resulting This Island is full of ProTooled, depth-charged, drum machine-led dance routines that reinforce Le Tigre's feminist protests, disseminating the band's message(s) without further developing its original, admittedly catchy sound.