The debut effort from Le Tigre sounds like the best new wave album not
to come from the 1980s. Here, frontwoman Kathleen Hanna expands on the
lo-fi sounds she tinkered with on her debut solo album, Julie Ruin. Le
Tigre melds punk, new wave, and hip-hop into a seemingly cute package.
Each song is hummable, and Hanna's "valley girl intelligentsia" voice is
perfectly deceptive. In "Deceptacon," a song loaded with the kind of
simple contradictions that made Kurt Cobain's lyrics so effective, Hanna
sings, "Let me hear you depoliticize my rhyme." "What's Yr Take on
Cassavetes" is the best song about an auteur since King Missile's
"Martin Scorsese." "My My Metrocard" and "Les and Ray," two of the best
songs on the album, display a welcome sort of contradiction: both songs
seem to be about escape and exploration ("Think I'll go a little/but
then I go far"), but the catchy hooks of these tunes are inescapable.
With Bikini Kill, Hanna's politics were as subtle as the Empire State
Building. But with Le Tigre, as with the great Tom Tom Club song "Genius
of Love," the listener is left not only humming and dancing, but
exploring the wealth of reference material hidden within its confines.