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4.5 out of 5 stars67
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 5 August 2007
This new album is quite spectacular. It has in some ways gone back to the root of The White Stripes were all about, a guitar, drums and vocals. In other ways this album has pushed further the boundaries of the little box Jack White confines himself to; they have ditched the Marimba, taken on some bagpipes, some horns and added a synthesiser that sounds like it belongs in an Irish jig. This leaves us with a very diverse sounding album. The title track and lead single Icky thump is just plain weird at first, but the jerkiness and blasts of synthesiser soon grow on you. Moving swiftly onwards we get a bit country with You Don't Know What Love Is, it's brilliantly catchy. 300 MPH...... doesn't sound like the name implies until the distortion pedal kicks in around the two and a half minute mark and erupts, but it settles down. Conquest uses the horns to great effect, the song is not swamped by the songs but they act rather as a motif to the fact that it is a cover of an old song, for ten seconds somewhere in the middle of this song is sounds like new rave but that's just my opinion. Bone broke next is a classic White Stripes song, guitar drums and vocals, simple yet effective. Now comes the strange part, Prickly Thorn and St. Andrew tie in with one another, the first of these is pretty much a folk song, the second a psychedelic meltdown of backwards bagpipes and drums with some eerie spoken works by Meg White. Little Cream Soda is back to the three elements of The White Stripes, but it is quite heavy. In my opinion it is the last five songs on the album that are the best, Rag & Bone is a comical spoken word piece, I'm Slowly Turning Into You is epic with the effect on the guitar here not disimilar to that on Blue Orchid. Matyr is both slow and emotional yet thumps along in the chorus driven by stabs of organ and trundling bass heavy guitar. Catch Hell Blues is The White Stripes in their barest form with this track recorded in one take. Effect and cause is an acoustic country song yet the highlight of this song has to be the lyrics.

A quick note must be made about the sound quality of the CD version, everything seems to have compression on it and so this makes the CD version sound a little muddy at times, buy the vinyl if this concerns any audiophiles out there but it isn't really too much of a problem, I think it adds a fuller sound when compared to their older albums.
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on 4 July 2007
I have probably always enjoyed the idea of The White Stripes a little more than I have ever enjoyed listening to them; a dirty, raw, under produced, blues sound with big riffs is about all you can want from a band but for this listener they never completely delivered. They have always managed to write some fantastic tunes but tend to lose me over the course of an album, sometimes falling prone to a little style without substance - not with this album.
As the White Stripes tend to mine similar terriotory you may feel that you've heard it all before on first playing 'Icky Thump' but that second listen is key. All the heavy riffery is there as before but there are also some peculiar sounding passages to songs as well that make the album that bit more diverse and re-playable. There is also a 'cleaner' sound to the record, compared to an album like 'Elephant', which depending on your tastes may be a good or bad thing but it definately works with the songs on here.
The White Stripes always make good albums but in 'Icky Thump' I honestly believe they may have made their best.
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on 30 August 2007
Let's clear one thing up. 'Icky Thump' is good. It isn't at the level of the first few albums, but 'Get Behind Me Satan' was so bad, I thought it could only improve. Thankfully it did.

'Icky Thump' starts off with the infectious title-track, with Jack White the Third's umistakeable guitar sounds and riffs, a wailing keyboard and Meg White's somewhat primal drums. It's catchy, it's clever, and it's very good. New single 'You Don't Know What Love Is' is slower, but still has that unmistakeable 'Stripes' sound. Other highlights of the album are the 'Catch Hell Blues', '300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues', 'Little Cream Soda', 'Bone Broke', 'I'm Slowly Turning Into You' and 'A Martyr For My Love For You'. 'Conquest' is fun, and enjoyable listening, but can't really hack it, whereas the bagpipes on 'St. Andrew' and 'Prickly Thorn (Sweetly Worn)' do not do the album any favours.

The Stripes try to do too much on a few occasions but their sound is back. A good effort, and album number seven won't be far away, I'm sure.
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on 18 June 2007
5 stars, because any White Stripes album is a gift. To quote (not perfectly) a recent NME review. "You go to your garage expecting to see your ford mondeo and find a unicorn instead". How many bands are really writing songs and working them with true energy, depth and spirit? Lets forgive 'Get Behind Me Satan' - sometimes you have to fail a bit - out of the flames comes a pheonix (sorry more mythological analogy), though I'm sure Jack White wouldn't see it that way. First listen tells me I'm about to have some beautiful relationships. Time will tell if they equal Death Letter, Ball and Biscuit and all the others - too numerous to mention.....
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All "Icky Thump" initially brought to mind was Graham Chapman telling Terry Jones how to say, "Eee, ecky thump!" into a mike.

But it's also the title of the White Stripes' sixth album, and after the mediocre dry spell of "Get Behind Me Satan," it's nice to hear that the Stripes seem to have regained their creative juices. This time they pack the album with dark seventies-style rock'n'roll and some traditional folk flourishes.

It kicks off with the dark, plodding guitar that blazes up to life every few seconds, and a sinuous synth ripple that slithers through the melody. "Icky thump/Who'da thunk?/Sittin drunk on a wagon to Mexico?" Jack yowls, describing the less pleasant corners of Mexico, and taking a moment to jab at Americans ("Why don't you kick yourself out/You're an immigrant too!").

It softens up a lot for the catchy, bluesier rocker "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)," and the mellow gritty "300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues." Then the album goes through two phases: the first is one of British and Scottish folkiness, and a trumpety rocker that sounds like a B-side from Beirut. Then the last leg of the album slips back to blazing rock'n'roll, full of dark energy and retro organ.

I never quite figured out what was going on in the halfhearted "Get Behind Me Satan," except that every band has their dud. And fortunately "Icky Thump" is everything that album wasn't -- spirited, creative, enthusiastic, and full of those little moments and brilliant instrumentation that bring it alive. Nice to see they haven't run out of juice yet.

Yeah, we have Jack blazing away like a forest fire on his guitars, whether it's softer blues riffs, ringing blasts or hard-rocking swirls. And Meg smashes the drums like no other. But their music is festooned with a colourful array of extra instrumentation -- sweeps of eerie, vintage psychedelic synth, sprightly gypsyish trumpets, and even bagpipes for the mesmerizing "St. Andrew (This Battle Is In The Air)."

Jack seems to have regained his verve as well: he sounds assured and a little sad, and his quirky voice has a new depth and power. But he hasn't lost his melancholy edge, singing of Mexican robberies, stream of consciousness love songs, the rag and bone man, and a man who loves a woman so deeply, he lets her go so he won't make her unhappy.

And Meg gets to display her clear voice a few times -- she gets to talk with Jack in "Rag & Bone," and the eerie Scottishy ballad "St. Andrew (This Battle Is In The Air)" has her murmuring a prayerlike song over a bagpipe/drum melody. ("This battle is in the air/I'm looking upwards/where are the angels?/I'm not in my home!").

"Icky Thump" is both a wonderful return to form, and a foray into new territory for the White Stripes. A glorious experience, and it only gets better with repeated listens. A triumph.
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on 25 June 2007
after all the hype, i was expecting the 2nd coming but that didnt come thru on the first couple of hearings. the songs sounded derivative rehashes of past glories, undistinguished and at times quite annoying (i.e. Conquest) with bagpipes and weird sounds....jack was playing and singing well with the enigmatic Meg knocking out that solid beat behind him & certainly there was more guitar than on Satan but sadly the songs didn't seem to cut it........on the following day i listened again and it didnt seem so bad this time but nothing really stood out- could take it or leave it..At that point i thought if i tried it once more i'd know if Icky Thump and my ears had any future together.....

it GOT me on the 3rd hearing..

The album starts with the powerful title track which has a great zeppelin style riff with snatches of keyboard reminiscent of deep purple (circa In Rock)....and yet the white stripes are able to mix all their influences together to make their own unique sound that surpasses all those before them..

From the 1st song to the last the energy never lets up - every track is strong and offers something new with each listen - coupling the vitality of the first album and the maturity of Elephant and GBMS - the white stripes have finally produced their masterpiece...

In 1967 they were celebrating Pepper. Forty years on and its 2007 and we are celebrating Icky Thump. Perhaps the current state of the music scene ain't so bad after all...
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This album oozes with contrasting styles and sounds and all held together with a tremendous drumming backbeat. Like others I cannot quite get into the opening title track but it's a treat from thereon in.
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on 16 October 2007
Icky Thump does blow the mind literally when the title track kicks in and it dawns on you what powerful back to basics rock music sounds like. Icky Thump is a glorious return for The White Stripes from Jack's mad scientist role in the experimental Get Behind Me Satan. It is a return to the musical composition of Elepahnt with exploding gutiar riffs that leave your speakers crackling;aslo Meg's thumping, marching drum beats such as in the tracks Bone Broke and Little Cream Soda. Jack White is evolving into one of the greatest songwriters of his generation and songs like 300mph Outpour Blues and Martyr For My Love For You show his emotional passion for blues music. 300mph Outpour Blues is a highlight of the album as when you listen to it for the first time it will make you feel mellow and relaxed then 2 minutes give you a sudden wake up call with a guitar blitzkerig upon your mind.

While Icky Thump contains simple blues numbers such as Catch Hell Blues; it aslo holds the key to the laboratory with envelope being pushed further on songs like Conquest which includes a trumphet squaring off alongside Jack's feverish playing. Songs such as Prickly Thorn But Sweetly Worn and St Andrew acknowledge Jack's family roots of Scotland, although St Andrew is one of the strangest songs I've ever heard but do act as a divider in the middle of the album as soon as St Andrew ends Little Cream Soda kicks in and whatever doubt you had will be forgotten.

The title track encoporates elements of Led Zeppelin and as it was the first single gives you the flavour of the rest of the album. You Don't Know What Love Is contains Beatlesque melody and is in a way similar to I Just Don't Know What To Do taken from Elephant.

Overall Icky Thump is the next step in the evolution of White Stripes music and is a must buy album of the year.
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on 24 June 2007
I have been a big big fan of The White Stripes for a long time now, and i can honestly say they never dissapoint me! Jack n Meg are on stonking form with this excellent album.

Why do people feel the need to ridicule meg on her drum playing, the whole purpose and greatness of this band, is in its childish simplicity, and not relying on big money sounds and recordings. Jack is as great and gorgeous as allways...!!! I hope they keep up the fantastic work of entertaining us, as its a more interesting and lively world with them in it. Francesca.
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This is a damned fine album. I mean, notwithstanding the fact that it's 'Ecky and not Icky Thump, added to the fact that I am slightly bored with the concept of The White Stripes and wasn't exactly excited to hear that Jack & Meg were releasing a new album in 2007, the content of this album - or at least the majority of it - has won me over. There are plenty of songs on this album that would easily fit alongside the best output of 'White Blood Cells' or 'Elephant' and hearing that they had gone back to the hard-edged, bluesy style they excel at was pleasing.

Straight away, when I heard the lyrics of the title track, especially the lines;

"White Americans, what?/Nothing better to do?/Why don't you kick yourself out?/You're an immigrant too!"

...I knew I was about to rediscover exactly what made me such a huge fan of this band five years previously. Both 'You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)' and '300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues' are trademark White Stripes electric blues-fuelled tracks and are extremely enjoyable.

The frenetic, mariachi band meets blues rock corker that is 'Conquest', featuring a duel between trumpets and squealing electric guitar, delivers a truly original sound and, for that, probably gets the title of best song on the album, but 'Little Cream Soda' is a track with a classic blues riff and storming, thumping, relentless beat which could be a standout on any of The White Stripes' best albums. The only lull in the album comes courtesy of 'Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn' and 'St. Andrew (The Battle Is In The Air)' a Scottish-themed pair which reek of cheesiness, like a tourist trying to replicate authenticity. 'Rag And Bone' also nearly falls into the same trap of musical tourism, but it just about has enough charm and balls to work.

This whole album isn't exactly what I'd call a return to form in the same vein as 'White Blood Cells' or 'Elephant', but - for me - it's a huge improvement on 'Get Behind Me Satan', an album I consider to be Jack & Meg's weakest. I'm now back in the position of looking forward to their next release, so I guess you can say that Icky Thump has restored my faith in The Stripes' ability and reasssured me that they haven't lost their touch.
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