The White Stripes stretch out musically without abandoning the rock on their highly anticipated new album, "Get Behind Me Satan," due this week via Third Man/V2. First single and album opener "Blue Orchid" gets things off to a hard rocking start, but the first sign of experimentation comes quickly with the marimba lead-in of the positively weird "The Nurse," punctuated by crashing guitar/drum downstrokes that eventually reach full-on thunder.
The piano and tambourine accents on "My Doorbell" give off a Motown vibe, while on the acoustic guitar and piano-tinged "Forever for Her (Is Over for Me)," Jack White's singing nods to the impassioned style of Prince a la "Purple Rain."
Jack's 2004 collaboration with country icon Loretta Lynn seems to have rubbed off on "Little Ghost," on which he and drummer Meg White sing together over back-porch acoustic strumming. The sexy cool strut of "The Denial Twist" gives way to the slow, piano-led "White Moon," a quasi-church confessional loaded with rhyming couplets.
And even though the Stripes are capable of filling large venues as this stage of their career, Jack White is adamant about playing more intimate venues on the group's summer tour, which begins Aug. 6 in George, Wash,
"I told our booking agent: When I walk out onstage, I don't look at the crowd and say, 'Wow. Look how much money I'm making,'" he says. "When I walk out on stage, I say, 'Do I feel like playing my guitar tonight?' If it is some cold arena where drinks are $9 and everyone is seated properly and everything is made of concrete, I don't feel like playing. There's no intimacy. I'd rather play to 100 people than play to 20,000 people."