“Somehow the fake-brother-and-sister/ex-husband-and-wife duo of John Anthony Gillis and Megan Martha White, aka Jack and Meg White, has managed to transmute gimmick into mystique, to create a shimmering garage mirage out of little more than trashcan drums, greasy geetar and a natty tricolor fashion palette, and sell it to 4 million people. Having proven time and again that less is more, the White Stripes remain adamantly reductionist about everything, from their music to the truth about their lives. They are masters of illusion via subtraction. And the less they give us, the more we want.” — Jonathan Valania, A Long Time Ago, In An Alternative Weekly Far, Far Away
INSTANTANEOUSLY REVIEWED BY ED KING ROCK SNOB: Icky Thump opens with “Icky Thump,” on which Jack and Meg do their patented Led Zeppelin via T-Rex stomping simplicity routine to perfection. There’s something slightly dark and mystical about the overdubbed solos, like the band is promising to enter its Presence phase, but White sings with too much glee and places his voice too far up front to worry us about leading us down that album’s black hole. Beside, White Stripes don’t have a multi-talented bassist to take the wheel during their captain’s junkie slip.
You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You’re Told) has a real 1973 AM cock-rock hit feel, like something a heavily mustachioed 1-hit wonder might have struck gold with when I was first noting the interesting differences between boys and girls. So joyous and friendly, like that song “Signs” or that song about making the cover of Rolling Stone. Get me a K-Tel release featuring this one! Digging it, and digging yet another cool-sounding guitar solo. Fuck all you slow-moving, mandolin-playing bands out there! This is why rock bands entered the studio. The rest of you should set up a stereo mic in an abandoned church.
“300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues” is a relatively tender change of pace, but even this song packs a snaky rock punch. Oh man, listen to that tiny, volcanic guitar solo! I don’t know what’s going on, but I want to listen to it again. Load up another hit, brother. Is this White guy about the last guy on earth who knows what to do with The Power and Glory of Rock? He’s so ON, so far, that I’m finding the elephant in the Hall — Meg’s drumming, or lack thereof — to be no issue whatsoever. MORE