red lights

White Hot!

The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
(Third Man Records)
4 Stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: March 25, 2002

White Stripes

By Tony Bonyata

They're loud, crude, grating and unconventional. Which is exactly whyyou should love The White Stripes. This minimalist rock duo, allegedlybrother and sister, from Detroit brilliantly play out a refreshingly simpleand direct brand of back-to-basics rock 'n' roll, which mixes togetherrootsy folk music, thrashing punk and metal, deep blues, along with thecatchiness of '60s Britpop. While, musically speaking, it may not be arevelation, they've, nonetheless, made rock music seem fresh and importantagain (something this tired old dog 'rock' needs to run out and fetch everynow and then).
On their third full-length album White Blood Cells singer / guitaristJack White along with his sister Meg White on drums bring a well-timedurgency to rock, much in the same way the Pixies helped jump start anunderground revolution of unconventional alternative music in the late '80s.
With Jack 's whiny yelp and raunchy, fuzzed out guitars along with thegiant crash of sissie's drums, it sounds like these two were grounded intheir basement for the last three years, and have finally emerged from theirpunishment as a premier rock act - albeit a gritty, eccentric premier rockact.
While the gut-bucket Delta blues sounds of Robert Johnson and Son Housethat they morphed and mutated on their earlier recordings are missing fromthis set, these siblings still know how to drastically mix it up. From thesnotty Woody Guthrie protest-styled song "Hotel Yorba" to TheRamones-meet-The Pixies speed-punk of "Fell in Love with a Girl" The WhiteStripes are sure to please and offend just about everyone who cares to takenotice. Big dumb metal chords are executed to a tongue-in-cheek perfectionon "Expecting," while Jack's droning vocals and sloppy guitar that foams atthe mouth with feedback on "Aluminum" is aggravated by a mastodonic assaulton the drums. The range of emotions are also played out from the biting rawangst of "The Union Forever" to the loving lilting lullaby of "We're GoingTo Be Friends," as well as the passionate dancing-on-oil-stains flamencoguitar of "I Think I Smell a Rat."
As far as complaining about the state of rock music, I'm done with that.Because with bands such as The Strokes, Radiohead, Wilco and now The WhiteStripes making music that matters as much as ever, I'm here to tell you thatrock is once again white hot.

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