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The platinum-selling, multi-Grammyr- winning and highly acclaimed The White Stripes move to Warner Bros. for Icky Thump, the most sonically bombastic album the band has made. While revealing the band's roots in American folk music, Icky Thump is an explosive, revolutionary assault that brings together garage rock, every blues style of the past 100 years, nouveau flamenco, Jack White's fastest guitar solo ever recorded, hard country, speed metal, a slide guitar epic, surf music, spoken word and even bagpipes to create a modern rock 'n' roll masterpiece.
Bagpipes, a song written as the soundtrack to a Michel Gondry music video, Patti Page's musical shadow, and Jack and Meg co-narrating a scavenger's rummages: It must be time for Icky Thump, the many-flavored riposte to 2006's Get Behind Me Satan. The duo starts big with the title track--Jack's fast-tumbling, falsetto-tinged lyrics jagging on hyper keyboard-sounding segues and Meg's pounding drums. They rarely shy from an idea, invoking acoustic Bob Dylan to frame "300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues," but interjecting a series of distortion-laden guitar paroxysms for good measure. The end of Icky, on "Effect and Cause," is where Jack's trademark vocal warble and spare, quick acoustic strums meet Meg's single-minded beats. Everywhere on Icky giant riffs leap and shout, with Flamenco horns and those eerie bagpipes and rhythmic shifts and Jack's impatient vocal kinetics, marking new territories even as the White Stripes again populate them with vintage ideas. --Andrew Bartlett
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Top Customer Reviews
But it's also the title of the White Stripes' sixth album, and after the mediocre dry spell of "Get Behind Me Satan," it's nice to hear that the Stripes seem to have regained their creative juices. This time they pack the album with dark seventies-style rock'n'roll and some traditional folk flourishes.
It kicks off with the dark, plodding guitar that blazes up to life every few seconds, and a sinuous synth ripple that slithers through the melody. "Icky thump/Who'da thunk?/Sittin drunk on a wagon to Mexico?" Jack yowls, describing the less pleasant corners of Mexico, and taking a moment to jab at Americans ("Why don't you kick yourself out/You're an immigrant too!").
It softens up a lot for the catchy, bluesier rocker "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)," and the mellow gritty "300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues." Then the album goes through two phases: the first is one of British and Scottish folkiness, and a trumpety rocker that sounds like a B-side from Beirut. Then the last leg of the album slips back to blazing rock'n'roll, full of dark energy and retro organ.
I never quite figured out what was going on in the halfhearted "Get Behind Me Satan," except that every band has their dud. And fortunately "Icky Thump" is everything that album wasn't -- spirited, creative, enthusiastic, and full of those little moments and brilliant instrumentation that bring it alive. Nice to see they haven't run out of juice yet.
Yeah, we have Jack blazing away like a forest fire on his guitars, whether it's softer blues riffs, ringing blasts or hard-rocking swirls. And Meg smashes the drums like no other.Read more ›
'Icky Thump', could be described as one of the White Stripes' most "experimental" and "produced" albums to date, not just because of the almost poetry-on-music style tracks but because of the inclusion of horns, keyboards and even bagpipes. On the first listen, it is a strange album. Songs about cause-and-effect and rummage sales (the masterful standout, "Rag and Bone") have random subject matter, reminiscent of songs like "Take Take Take" and "Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine". Many people have chastised White's songwriting... I love it. There are few other lyricists who can (or at least, who will) blend that kind of innocent fun with far-reached politics.
'Icky Thump' is a bluesy, hard-edged, well-crafted, fantastically sung, unique piece of work. It may take a couple of listens to soak in the gist of what it's all about, but when you get there, you'll realize why Jack White is regarded as one of today's best rock talents for a reason.
Most recent customer reviews
Fans of real artistry and pure musicianship should stay away from this "make me take too many laxatives so I don't have to endure the soul crushing turd music that has remained the... Read morePublished on Aug. 9 2007 by OppressedAtheist