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.
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