The White Stripes : White Blood Cells
Detroit 'siblings' play the blues
Of course, the appeal of Linkin Park, Papa Roach and compadres partly springs from their convincing modernism, a genre-spanning hybrid that relishes the challenges of 21st century teenhood. Conversely, it takes three seconds of White Stripes' third album to recognise that this is a band in thrall to rock'n'roll's hairy past, unafraid to take on the auras of bluesmen who died before the birth of television and twist them into heavy psychedelic freak-outs. Yet somehow, sibling duo Jack and Meg White manage to make music that thrums with a biological rather than historical imperative, their minimal line-up streamlining soured Cream riffing and demon-summoning Led Zeppelin grandeur into songs blessed with the skinny modern attitude of The Moldy Peaches or At The Drive-In.
Brother-sister bands instantly possess a perverse, cultish appeal, and it's easy to imagine singer-guitarist Jack and drummer Meg locked in a white room with black curtains by their sinister longhair parents. The follow-up to last year's excellent 'De Stijl', 'White Blood Cells', instantly creates a clammy world of its own, Jack's paranoid obsessions looming darkly over the untrammelled riffing. The perfect kitsch Pixies of 'Fell In Love With A Girl', or the fey childhood-sweetheart folk of 'We're Going To Be Friends' hint at many moods but ultimately, 'White Blood Cells' is the sound of a basement bedsit breakdown, a free-festival for the clinically furious. 'Offend In Every Way' is reminiscent of Beck's ominous 'Diamond Bullocks' role-playing; 'Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground' could be Jon Spencer Blues Explosion with a silver tune in his mouth; while 'The Union Forever' is threaded with the deft guitar logic of The Animals.
This is the house of the Rising Stars: the lyrics are great, the attitude unmistakable. "What would I have liked to be? Everything you hate" yelps Jack while the Latinate lurch of 'I Smell A Rat' - "All you little kids think you know where it's at... Using your parents like a welcome mat" - hints at a moral fibre Limp Bizkit would do well to observe.
Great songs, a great look and self-discipline, too. Rock'n'roll might have been the ruin of many a poor boy, but White Stripes' are made guys.
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