Sound — 10
Pounding out hit records has always been all in a days work for the white stripes. Icky Thumps predecessor was recorded and written in 8 days. The previous elephant in 10. Which is what has always been so gripping about them. They leave you expecting nothing better and then they throw together an album in a short time. When it was announced that Icky Thump took five weeks to record and also that it was recorded in an actual studio, fans knew something special was coming, how right we were. The CD opens with the pounding single "Icky Thump" with Megs minimalist drumming and jacks loud guitar in full force. It's after the first song that the sound breaks away and treads into new territory. "You don't know what love is" brings in an old time country feel remniscent of "You're pretty good looking (for a girl)" But the main difference, White has layered his guitar tracks. Gone is the simple rhythm guitar pound, and is replaced by layered intricate guitar and organ sections. Other key tracks include the surfer metal pound of "Little Cream Soda" the bloody brilliant "Rag and Bone" and the albums folk jam closer "Effect and Cause" The album also shows major strides as a vocalist. First, he sings high, very high at points, impossibly high for typical Jack White (listen to "Conquest" for proof) which contrasts with the often spoken word vocals that fill the album.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrically the CD is a stride in a new area. From Immigration, to a cover of an anti sexist anthem. What hasn't changed is his ability to tell stories. "Rag and Bone" finds Jack and Meg playing the roles of travelling grifters who take peoples trash and resell it. what's most impressive is the soft loud tension achieved on rag and bone and other spoken word tracks like it.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall impression, I was blown away. I was expecting something completely different than the album that was made. After Get Behind Me Satan I was expecting another piano driven rock album (not that there would be anything wrong with that). White lets out his inner guitar beast, and proves once again that he can wail circles around most of todays players.