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Le Tigre - Le Tigre (Wiiija Records)

Their record company is excited to be working with them, and, on this evidence, it's hardly surprising. 21st century women, Le Tigre, seem to have caught moments when pop and insanity collide to the sound of glass smashing and helium leaking. Or maybe it's just because this is ex-Bikini Kill Kathleen Hanna's new band.

Hanna is probably best known for having scribbled the words "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit" on a wall during the heady days of Nirvana-led Seattle grunge, providing Cobain with the title of the most important song of the 1990s. In 1999, Hanna is unlikely to find her new project lumped into a lifestyle movement with accompanying "Riot Grrl" Part 2 T-shirts.

Never mind. Le Tigre are a strangely brilliant guitar-wielding trio, their cutely weird sound enhanced by little girl vocals (the beautiful 'Eau d'Bedroom Dancing'), call-and-response shopping songs ('My My Metrocard'), and gloopy 1970s sci-fi TV noises ('Slideshow At Free University'). "I wanna spread my dementia," Hanna declares, wailing all over seaside synthesisers as if Le Tigre is Stereolab with extra shrieking.

The stand-out track is future single 'Hot Topic', on which Le Tigre plead with a mostly female list of icons and obscure cult figures to keep on doing what they're doing: "Please don't stop / I can't live if you stop." Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, The Slits, Sleater-Kinney and Dorothy Allison are all name-checked over an insistent background chant. Maybe someday, some inventive, life-loving band will send their compliments in Hanna's direction. In any case, Le Tigre's debut is a fabulously scary, funny mix of explosive guitars, electronic pulses and high-pitched ranting, and it's available now.

Laura Slattery

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