White flight

Jun 14, 2000 at 12:00 am
Detroit’s already chock-full of bona fide musical anomalies (if not outright freak shows). Hence, it’s so damned satisfying that there’s an entity such as the White Stripes which obviously takes both the simple and the high road on the highway to rock salvation. That is, the music of Jack and Meg White has always been a sublime concoction of the homemade, the disturbed and the conceptual. (Hell, they’re aman-woman duo with an aggressively ambiguous relationship, a penchant for nursery-rhyme simplicity masking deep, dark secrets, and sporting trademark red-and-white garb and brandishing giant peppermints! Does that sound like garage rock to you!?)

Where the duo’s self-titled debut laid out the blueprint of classic rock-via-the-Delta-blues by way of Southwest Detroit, the Whites are now decorating the rooms of their mansion with Dylan-worthy introspection and minimalism, primal howls and cathartic regression (oh, yeah, and the occasional "rock anthem"). Translation? It’s fucking brilliant.

You’d have to be truly sick not to relate at least a little to Jack White’s insights, declarations of insecurity and boy-next-door-with-the-crooked-grin vocalizations. It’s the attention to detail that wins the day, though. Cuz on a broad, obvious level, there’re still lots of folks who’ll say "Whud is that? Some guy trying to sound like Robert Plant or sumpthin'." (Please affect "dolt" voice for the preceding sentence). And you very well may get a passing hint of Mr. Zimmerman ’round here. But I think that’s only because Jack White’s going to the same deep well to draw the sounds for his own hearth and home.