Last night, I stumbled across a leak of the new White Stripes album, Icky Thump, and I’m happy to report to those who failed to find the band’s eclectic last record, Get Behind Me Satan, as "distinctive" or "inspirational" as a lot of critics did, that Jack White (pictured, left, with drummer Meg White) has definitely gotten reacquainted with his gee-tar and is still willing and able to do balls-out rock ‘n’ roll. This record is more in the high octane spirit of Elephant and White Blood Cells than the experimental "I’m so brilliant I can succeed at whatever I try" character of the piano-driven Satan.
That isn’t to say that Icky Thump is a return to the duo’s more primitive early days (as some, though not the Stripes themselves, have said). Despite the Zeppelin-esque title track and first single, there’s also a lot more bagpipes on Thump than anything they’ve done before, and the mandolin makes a return as well. Still, White may pepper Thump with exotic sounds (some Scottish folk music, call-and-response between a guitar and a mariachi band), but there are also moments of pure rocking abandon that should sate the appetites of those who may appreciate Jack and Meg’s ability to pull off disco-inflected soul music, but really prefer it when they plug in and make their ears bleed.
Any other PopWatchers who got their hands on Icky Thump (and naturally, followed-up by immediately pre-ordering the CD for the official release on June 19) care to weigh in on what you heard? Those who haven’t heard it, what do you expect/hope for? Anyone wish Jack would just chuck the marimbas and go back to the simpler days of "Big Three Killed My Baby?"