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RECORD RACK

Snarrrling From the Frontier of Feminism : *** 1/2; BIKINI KILL; "Pussy Whipped"; Kill Rock Stars

December 19, 1993|LORRAINE ALI

Not much has changed with this brash band since its members scrawled such words as slut and rape across their bellies and spurred the underground feminist Riot Grrrl movement more than two years ago, reacting with raw, discordant blasts against everything from date rape to heckling truckers.

But by refusing to promote its message through the media or a corporate record label, a group that might have spearheaded the future of radical feminism instead catered to a bohemian elite, and the hard line remains in place. The three-woman, one-man group is still defiantly independent, issuing its second uncompromising album on its own tiny label.

The Olympia, Wa., quartet belts out infectious drives of power-punk and the kind of emasculating lyrics a lot of women would love to hurl back at leering construction workers. Singer Kathleen Hanna's kid-like taunts and detached-sounding, guttural warnings break into shrill screams so high that they blow out the album's garage-style production like a pair of cheap speakers.

It's too bad Bikini Kill is so determined to retreat from the public eye. This album could provide some real musical nourishment to a lot of women if it ever got beyond the protective coffeehouse clique.

New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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