First Response: The White Stripes, “Icky Thump”
I’m possibly in the minority on this one, but I don’t consider 2005′s “Get Behind Me Satan” that much of an outlier in the White Stripes catalog — I would rather a band do exactly what it wants rather than settle into a pro-forma stylistic march that merely gives people what they expect. Real White Stripes fans know this, and fairweather “Seven Nation Army” fans who got thrown off by the marimbas and piano on “Get Behind Me” should have known from the beginning that the White Stripes aren’t your standard-issue alt rock radio fist-pumping band.
But having said that, “Icky Thump” is so ridiculously good at being exactly what we love about the White Stripes. This is Jack and Meg in full-on Led Zeppo stomp, but then those guitar arpeggios and keyboard filigrees kick in at the half-way mark, and the band almost sounds like they spent time “In the Court of the Crimson King.” Bizarre and beautiful — it’s begging for a Roger Dean gatefold sleeve.
It’s also an unusual step for Jack to stick his neck out politically — he took his lumps for statements he made a few months ago about rock stars staying out of politics — but there are some pointed observations on immigration here. They seem to come out of nowhere, but Jack makes it interesting and scores a great lyrical jab. All in all, the title track’s a great opening salvo, and “Icky Thump” goes wide June 19.
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