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This Island

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Album Review

The wails of riot grrrls ages 7 to 77 echoed throughout the music world (and as a result, Internet message boards) when Le Tigre announced that their next release would be on Universal, the complete antithesis to riot grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna's ethos for over a decade. Longtime devotees waited with baited breath and questions of anticipation as their formidable heroes completed This Island. Would it be nearly as good as the band's previous endeavors? Was Universal picking them up merely to savor the last morsels of the electroclash movement they so sorely (and in some respects, thankfully) missed out on? The answer to both questions is yes and probably. This Island is just as strong, if not stronger, than anything in Le Tigre's oeuvre. J.D., Kathleen, and Johanna have crafted an album that stays true to their roots, the album they've been wanting to make since their first demos thanks to what could possibly be attributed to a most generous advance in their contract and the able assistance of the legendary Ric Ocasek behind the mixing desk. The album is punchier than previous releases but doesn't sacrifice their core aesthetics in favor of shifting trends. The stylish but visceral lyrics are still here in full force, especially in the searing "Seconds." A prom-tastic version of the Pointer Sisters' '80s classic "I'm So Excited" brings the album to a most fitting climax before the group hits the road again with its tour-diary "Punker Plus." It's definitely an album that's going to have the purists sighing with relief and have new converts checking out their back catalog for more. But the best part of all this is that it sounds like they're having fun, something that is sometimes noticeably and sorely vacant in what could be easily construed as a major boys club of laptops and analog rack gear. Of all the groups Universal could have chosen from this tired, depressing movement, they certainly chose the most honest and promising of the bunch and one whose full potential is just now starting to flourish.


Formed: 1999

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Originally conceived as the live backing band for her Julie Ruin solo project, Bikini Kill founder and quintessential riot grrrl Kathleen Hanna formed Le Tigre, another bold, feminist-oriented trio, with filmmaker Sadie Benning and zine creator Johanna Fateman in 1998. Borrowing a page from Hanna's Julie Ruin output, Le Tigre mixed punk's directness and politics with playful samples, eclectic pop, and lo-fi electronics. The group also added multimedia and performance art elements to their live shows,...
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This Island, Le Tigre
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