Nothing Icky But Plenty of Thump
After taking a year off for Jack to bar-hop the country with side project the Raconteurs, the Whites have reunited on their sixth full-length record Icky Thump. Logical expectations would predict Thump to land somewhere between the instant likeability and blues/folk fusion of the Stripes’ 2005 release Get Behind Me Satan and the simple garage bangers of the Raconteurs’ Broken Boy Soldiers, yet Thump has been masterfully crafted to surprise all by sounding anything but.
Not to worry, the Stripes’ trademark blues rock swagger and Dylan-esque prose still remain. Yet, this time around, Meg’s sternum-pounding drum crash and Jack’s larger-than-life guitar sound feel impossibly louder. The thunderous “Icky Thump,” “Little Cream Soda” and “Catch Hell Blues” resonate with metal authority. “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)” and “Rag & Bone” are endless fun, the former for its harshly catchy chorus and the latter due to the playful banter of Jack and Meg inventing themselves as crafty junk merchants. Not afraid to step further out of the box, “Prickly Thorn But Sweetly Worn” spaces out a Celtic sing-a-long while “Conquest” is a wild, mariachi-themed whirl ending in a duel between a guitar wielding Jack and a blaring trumpet. Meg’s bagpipe-backed spoken word on “St. Andrew (The Battle Is In The Air)” is a tad excessive, but Thump’s otherwise flawless track list makes a two-minute indulgence easily excusable.
One of their finest albums to date, Thump shoulders up with previous masterpieces Elephant and White Blood Cells in showcasing the secret of the Stripes’ pioneering sound. Jack and Meg seamlessly create music that is refreshingly classic and innovative at the same time.