Le Tigre is an all-girl trio fronted by ex-riot grrl/Bikini Kill leader Kathleen Hanna. She is joined by Sadie Benning and Johanna Fateman, previously more well known for making videos and publishing fanzines, respectively. The eponymous "Le Tigre" is not a record that is easily categorized or definedthere are echoes of 60s girl groups, 70s punk, 80s new wave, and 90s grunge, all twisted together into something that sounds utterly new and familiar at the same time.
The first track, "Deceptacon", for example, starts off with the phrase "Who took the bomp from the bompalompalomp?", the 90s version of the classic 50s "Who put the bomp in the bompalompalomp?", wondering where all the epiphanies that rock once promised have gone. The next track, "Hot Topic", is a multilayered masterpiece with an insidious groove; you don't realize until later that the lyrics are little more than a litany of feminist icons past and present, a funky shout out to all the sisters. "Eau D' Bedroom Dancing" has that early 80s feel, just when punk was beginning to figure out how cool keyboards wereit's almost like a lost track from that unsure period between Joy Division and New Order. "My My Metrocard" (hyperkinetic hymn in praise of the NYC subway system) and "Friendship Station" are both reminiscent of early Luscious Jacksononly with more energy, believe it or not. The album closes out with the gentle, awkward "Les and Ray", a thank you song for the next door neighbors whose piano playing gave the first glimpse of the power and beauty of music to a child.
This is simply a great album. There's hardly a song that isn't perfect and doesn't fit into the Le Tigre sound, yet they are each unique in the way that they appropriate different musical styles and traditions and do something new with them. Hanna's last project, Julie Ruin, was a one-off effort that was clearly a search for something new. With Le Tigre, she has certainly found it. We can only hope that she chooses to walk this road for a few miles more.