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coverpic flag US - Michigan - Full Moon 63 - 11/30/01

The White Stripes
White Blood Cells
Sympathy for the Record Industry/XL Recordings

Whoa!-2-3-4! The White Stripes are fun. The brother-sister two-some Jack (vocals, guitar, piano) and Meg White (drums, backing vox) create a enjoyable mishmash stew of rock, pop, punk, folk, blues - switching to and fro between genres with a snap. They're blending 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s styles without blinking, presenting a well done mixture of the good parts of everything. Playfighting hard-rocking guitar riffs, before turning into pop. Imagine Black Sabbath jamming with Violent Femmes.

White Blood Cells is the Detroiters third attempt (following 1999's The White Stripes, and last year's De Stijl, both on Sympathy For The Record Industry). It's quite impressing to listen to an album which manage to put rock music into the duo format, but The White Stripes come out with both style and credibility intact. Due to the sparse line-up their music is quite minimalistic, even though it sparks and kicks rather well. The 16 tracks on White Blood Cells is a rollercoaster ride of rhythmic and melodic summersaults, holding various degrees of power, tempo, and stamina. The cheery stomp Hotel Yorba is amusing, while Fell In Love With Girl is a powerful and catchy happy-go-lucky punkish pop-song. Then again, the short (50 seconds!) Little Room is something completely on the side; drums and vocals only! Followed by the more 'complex' The Union Forever, somehow reminding me of Canadians NoMeansNo. This is the force of The White Stripes: the diversity of songs and their sudden changes in style from one track to the other. It's impossible to guess what'll be next. On the contrary they seem to jump aroud quite some cliché s. But, hey, flirting isn't illegal, right.

The album grows and it gets at its best in its latter half. Highlights: Offend In Every Way, Fell In Love With A Girl (as mentioned), the punky I Think I Smell A Rat, the Nirvana-ish I Can't Wait, and Now Mary. Which should be enough reasons for a recommendation.

Other references mentioned trying to describe the sound of The White Stripes are: Blind Willie McTell, Led Zeppelin, Kinks, Cole Porter, Captain Beefheart, to name but a few. Check out the rock schizophrenia of The White Stripes.

Copyright © 2001 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our White Stripes articles/reviews: Cologne, Germany 24.11.2001, a short conversation with....

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