If there were a Billboard chart for social consciousness, Le Tigre would top it.
If there were a Billboard chart for social consciousness, Le Tigre would top it. Instead, the self-described "electronic feminist punk" trio has been preaching to the converted. Until now, that is. On its major-label debut, the band tries to stretch but trips over its own convictions. Even for listeners who agree with the politics behind a track like "New Kicks," its montage of political speeches set to nondescript beats begs for the fast-forward button. Other songs attempt to meet the mainstream on its own ground, with varying results. Two '80s homages — the slinky "Yaz Slow" and the Ric Ocasek-produced "Tell You Now" — work surprisingly well. But the amateurish hip-hop of "Nanny Nanny Boo" is embarrassing, and a smirky cover of the Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited" sounds like a lost Alvin & the Chipmunks track (or a "Kidz Bop" outtake). The best songs on "This Island" make the political personal ("Don't Drink Poison"). Le Tigre might want to reconsider whether it's trying to anger the majority or embrace it.—JM