Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Friday, March 28, 2003  

The White Stripes, one of my favourite bands, have released their new album, Elephant. The relative popular success of this bluesy-grunge duo out of Detroit has puzzled (and delighted) many, including the UK Guardian's Alexis Petredis:

"It is difficult to imagine a more contrived band: Jack and Meg White sport uniforms on stage, pretend to be brother and sister, write mannered lyrics about courtly love and have recorded Elephant on vintage 1950s equipment. Quite why the White Stripes are viewed as grimily authentic, while the Strokes are derided as a kind of indie Backstreet Boys, remains a mystery.

"But authenticity in rock is an overrated virtue. It certainly doesn't matter when an album sounds this strong.

"Elephant sticks close to the standard White Stripes design. Hulking blues riffs, barely controlled solos and the thrillingly primitive thwack of Meg White's drumming are still much in evidence.

"The lyrics hit home, witty rather than affected: 'I gave that horse a carrot so he'd break your foot,' sniggers White on It's True That We Love One Another. The guitar playing occasionally makes you gasp, as when There's No Home For You Here explodes in a flurry of painfully high-pitched notes.

"At those moments, the White Stripes' music seems almost elemental, their power undeniable: it is clear why they are the only band to have transcended the indie ghetto.

"The duo have refined their sound until it is shatteringly effective. It is hard to fathom how much longer they can keep doing the same thing, or where they can take their self-consciously limited sound without undermining the reasons people like them.

"Elephant is an album that seems guaranteed to put the White Stripes up there with the manufactured pop bands, novelty dance acts and corporate rockers. But how long their success will last is open to question."

"All love is fleeting," Jack White sings on "Fell in Love With a Girl", from the band's last album, White Blood Cells. So is fame, Jack, so enjoy it while it lasts!

posted by Jonathan | 9:39 AM 0 comments


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