Cutting the Edge

Chicks on Speed rage on in Cutting the Edge, an eclectic embodiment of feisty femalehood.

It’s been four years since their last release (and one slight lineup change, with Kiki Moorse departing in 2006), but leave it to the Chicks to come back with a vengeance. Spread over 23 tracks and two CDs, this album is a noise-pop powerhouse filled with the bratty wit this Munich group has made so iconic. Debbie Gibson–ish dance anthem “Art Rules” jabs at the art world (“Where are all the women?/They’re underneath the men!”), while “Vibrator” channels the B-52s so perfectly, the Chicks persuaded Fred Schneider to collaborate on the track via Skype (seriously). Even the most out-there songs, such as the industrial-influenced “Sewing Machine” and spoken-word “How to Build a High-Heeled Shoe Guitar,” glisten with self-referential humor, like disclaimers letting us know that they’re not taking themselves too seriously. New and groundbreaking for the Chicks? Not really. Totally awesome anyway? You bet.