Like most people, I have mixed feelings about This Island. It's basically a fun, glossy record with fantastic beats. While Le Tigre's first two albums were loaded with reference material for young feminists to check out, This Island is mostly devoid of content. This isn't always a bad thing, however, as the silliness replacing the content can be genuinely fun. What we get here is electro-pop, with punk flourishes used more sparingly than on the first two albums.
It feels like a completely different band. Songs like 'On the Verge', 'After Dark' and the witty, catchy, 'Nanny Nanny Boo Boo' are fresh and danceable, but if you've heard the first two albums then you can't help but feel a little wistful, and ask yourself, "What happened to the feminism?" Which isn't to say there aren't political songs here; because there are. Three, to be exact. 'Seconds' is the album's punk song; an indictment on George W. Bush that features some embarrassing, simplistic lyrics, but that doesn't matter too much as you can barely hear them anyway (Kathleen shows off her trademark squeal on this song.) 'New Kicks' uses a punk-rock sample to background some anti-war speeches, but seems to exist mostly for the video. 'Viz' is my favourite song on the album. It's JD's butch lesbian manifesto; about going clubbing, the butch/femme lesbian subculture, sexuality, and liberation. 'TKO' is fun and anthemic, but to the band's own admission the song is about absolutely nothing, and unfortunately that nothingness extends to too many of the songs, threatening to define the album itself. 'Don't Drink Poison' is the album's weakest moment -- a hodge-podge of guitar samples, electro music, and bad rapping about how "chicken caesar grows on trees".
Ofcourse, this album is a million times better than the other trash we're subjected to -- despite a few awkward lyrics, it's essentially smart pop music, which is a rarity these days. However, This Island has the least "heart" of their three full-length albums -- there are no book or cd recommendations/references to be found here, which disappointed me personally and does detract from the Le Tigre experience a little, as this album seems to lack the soul and militant feminism that were Le Tigre's whole schtick in the first place, and what made them special and different.
Le Tigre sound more confident than ever here, and they're definitely one of the better, smarter bands of the electro genre. The problem is, this album doesn't seem like it was meant to last -- it's happy to make you dance right now (and make no mistake, it's got groove in spades) and raise consciousness about Bush, but I'm not sure it will stand the test of time (or if it's even meant to.)