posted on July 23, 2007 05:58
The new White Stripes album shows off its blues and folk influences the way a pre-pubescent boy wears a fake moustache. An uninspired and uninspiring rock trudge that's not half as odd or interesting as it seems to think it is.
The CLUAS Verdict? 5 out of 10
In the sleevenotes to 'Icky Thump', Jack White admits to being an impressionist. Fair play to him for his honesty; this record sounds like one long Led Zeppelin homage - blues-rock guitars and little else.
White's songs are as flat and unremarkable as ever but this time around there's no 'Seven Nation Army' killer riff to carry them off. Like with Morrissey, his titles are more interesting than the songs themselves - 'You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What Your Told)' and 'A Martyr For My Love For You' are unmemorable plod-rock.
Only the mariachi-style 'Conquest' is quirky and appealing - but that's a cover version.
The low point is 'Prickly Thorn (But Sweetly Worn)' a hilariously bad (but apparently serious) attemp at Celtic folk-rock. Also good for unintentional laughs is 'Saint Andrew (This Battle's In The Air)' - "Saint Andrew, do not forsake me", squeals Meg White with her schoolgirl-voice. Even twenty years from now, street urchins will be taunting her in public over it.
If Jack White were to put into his songwriting at least half the imagination and energy he devotes to his imitation of a Deep South bluesman/medicine show huckster (as on the irritating 'Rag And Bone'), then The White Stripes might yet make music that lives up to the hype and mythologising they seem to inspire.
On the evidence of 'Icky Thump', however, they seem to have hit a creative dead-end.
To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.