Posted by:on June 17th, 2003
The White Stripes: De Stijl, White Blood Cells
Label: Sympathy for the Record Industry
Release Date: 2000, 2001
Review Date: 2003
The latest national darlings of Detroit’s rock scene are the White Stripes. If you aren’t familiar with them then this web site isn’t the place for you to keep up on popular trends. By the time we got around to listening to De Stijl the White Stripes were already last years Strokes. They had been mentioned in People magazine of all places. So yeah, we aren’t exactly on the cutting edge of hip over here. Stop reading this right now, it’s pure masturbatory self indulgence for me to continue writing this at this point. Don’t encourage me. (Have you heard of Radiohead?) Here’s the gist: De Stijl is brilliant. You must buy it because it has the potential to blow your mind. White Blood Cells is pretty good. Not as heavy, not as exciting, but still good.
The White Stripes are in the low-tech camp but their roots lie in blues and folk rather than “powder pop” or “hip pop” like most of current trend. No, those aren’t typos. In case you don’t know, it’s a two person operation. The end result is simple and effective. The guitar and drums with occasional keyboards combine with a cracking voice in a unique way that demands repeated listening. Often times they sound like the British Invasion bands of the 60’s who were ironically trying to sound like American bluesmen. When they aren’t rocking they are often poignant and storytellers along the veins of the Kinks. Sometimes they even sound like Led Zepplin, but not the bloated caricature era. Lyrically the content is often pretty vague with most of the emphasis placed on the sonic impact of the song rather than trying to get a point across.
White Blood Cells is a little less immediate than De Stijl, but it’s good nonetheless. The cover pokes fun at some of the media scrutiny they’ve been under. Are they brother and sister or ex husband and wife? Who cares? It’s good music. I recommend De Stijl over White Blood Cells, but that’s just my opinion. Both are better than their self titled first release. This is one of those bands that even though they have a retro influence, they are still fresh enough that you can become infatuated with their music because it’s a brand new experience. They give a pretty good live performance manage to put out enough sound between the two of them to fill the air better than most 3 and 4 piece outfits. Hopefully they won’t leave whatever atmosphere they cultivated their sound in and end up becoming a diluted version of their current vision. They seem pretty sincere now. Check ’em out.
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