You know, between the untimely demise of V2 Records and the subsequent rise to fame of brother Jack's radio friendly super-group The Raconteurs, the future of the White Stripes was starting to look, at best, rather bleak. Imagine my surprise then when, to little fan fare, this rock revivalist tag team booked a world tour and dumped Icky Thump into our collective laps. Could there be a white light at the end of the Stripes' dark tunnel? Have they, perhaps by the grace of some higher force, returned to save our sorry souls from giving up on "tru rawk" and letting the damnable schlock of drek like Daughtry rise to the top of the American music heap?
Well, if you believe the likes of Blender, Q, or any other music mag that still thinks the band is necessary enough to grace their cover, then the Stripes are not just back, but bolder then ever. In reality though they're really just back, with any claims to a newfound "boldness" likely referring to a new look that's more in danger of aping granny's rhinestone night bag than catching on in a high school near you.
That's not to say that the songs aren't here in all their usual raunchy glory however. Certainly the Stripes have become masters of their craft, able to strip paint off your walls with chainsaw guitar riffs and seemingly unstoppable (yet still out of time I might add) cymbal bashing. What is missing throughout Thump however, is that charming sense of playfulness that came through in fun fare like "Fell in Love With a Girl", or "Hotel Yorba". In fact, just as the first few bars of warbling keyboards and raucous guitars start to get the blood truly pumping, you'll begin to wonder whether the wonderfully rye and underhanded glee that used to ring out in Jack's upper register hasn't been replaced by the tones of an ageing, drunken coyote, waillin' at the moon about being born under a bad sign.
But ultimately, leaving all the usual gripes about a massively successful band taking themselves a tad too seriously aside, everything you'd expect to find in a White Stripes album is here in spades. It's dirty rock and roll deeds done dirt cheap and proud of it, which is more than Daughtry could ever claim.
Review by: Chris Webster
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