11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The Best Stripes' Album Yet,
This review is from: Icky Thump (Audio CD)
After hearing the single Icky Thump, I was worried what the forthcoming album was likely to sound like, my ears having dropped off in disgust at the mangey discursiveness of the comeback seven inch. But with my lobes stapled back and with Icky Thump the album now going through its seventh or eighth listen, I'd just about say that it's the best new album I've heard since Noah moonwalked out of the Ark and high fived an octopus.
Every track on the album is strong. Even the opening track does it for me (now) simply because it works so well in conjunction with the rest of the album - a bit like a weird looking carving sat astride a totem pole of wonderful lookin' critters. From 'You Don't Know What Love Is' for fans of more straight forward chorus-verse-chrous sing-a-longs, to admirers of the raucously screamin' steeliness of Jack's slide guitar on 'Catch Hell Blues' (something we've not really heard since De Stijl), this album has everything a true WS fan could ever want in a new album. Mercy me, I even enjoyed the theatrical camposity of Conquest (surely 'I Think I Smell A Rat' goes Flamenco?) which, as fun as it is, isn't even nearly as engaging as 'Rag And Bone' where Jack and Meg adopt the guises of Mssers H. Steptoe and Son demanding all the junk from our outhouses (I have a few Coldplay CDs they can have) with Jack providing a cool, almost jazzy vibe which snoops along like a West London pimp before exploding into a glorious all-growling foot tappin' riff which wouldn't sound out of place sat on their first, punkiest album to date. But for this dilitante reviewer, 'I'm Slowly Turning Into You' has to be the highlight of the album: an almost at times Baroque combination of both organ and guitar; Jack's voice - as pained as a lemon with pips squeezed out; Meg's conversational vocals and background drums a perfect gyroscope whirling round and round as Jack's freestyling drops in and out of the track as if in homage the production values behind The Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows - possibly. I won't tell you how good Little Cream Soda or 300 MPH Catch Hell Blues are, you'll have to find out for yourselves.
There's not one song on this album that I'd rate a duffer. For all that I adored Blue Orchid, it sits atop an album that simply did not live up to the rest of the WS back catalogue. Icky Thump does. More so, it outshines every album Jack n' Meg have ever released; and with Elephant and an out-and-out rock classic already, I wait with breath baited to see where in the pantheon of musical greatness Icky Thump gets placed.
Another cup of tea, anyone?