The White Stripes stretch out musically without abandoning the rock on their highly anticipated new album.
The White Stripes stretch out musically without abandoning the rock on their highly anticipated new album, "Get Behind Me Satan." Due June 7 via Third Man/V2, the set was unveiled for media last night (April 13) in New York amid a setting befitting the Stripes' trademark red and white outfits: deep red curtains around the room, red-tinted lighting inside and bartenders decked out in red shirts.
First single and album opener "Blue Orchid" got things off to a hard rocking start, with vocalist/guitarist Jack White climbing to a near falsetto and unleashing an AC/DC-worthy riff atop drummer Meg White's primal pounding.
The first sign of experimentation came with the marimba lead-in of the positively weird "The Nurse," punctuated by crashing guitar/drum downstrokes that eventually reach full-on thunder. "No, I'm never gonna let you down," Jack promised.
The piano and tambourine accents on "My Doorbell" gave off a Motown vibe, while on the acoustic guitar and piano-tinged "Forever for Her (Is Over for Me)," Jack's singing nodded to the impassioned style of Prince a la "Purple Rain."
Jack's 2004 collaboration with country icon Loretta Lynn seemed to rub off on "Little Ghost," on which he and Meg sing together over back-porch acoustic strumming. "I'm the only one that sees you, and I can't do much to please you," Jack proclaimed to the paranormal subject.
The sexy cool strut of "The Denial Twist" gave way to the slow, piano-led "White Moon," a quasi-church confessional loaded with rhyming couplets. But the Stripes' gritty rock'n'roll returned on "Instinct Blues," a raw slab of garage blues that found Jack emoting in his best Robert Plant homage.
Meg took the mic for the short "Passive Manipulation," which instructed listeners: "Women, listen to your mothers / don't just succumb to the wishes of your brothers." Jack kicked in quickly on acoustic guitar for "Take, Take, Take," a romantic fantasy about late actress Rita Hayworth, who ultimately does not give in to the narrator's advances.
"As Ugly As I Seem" proved the band's effectiveness in a stripped-down setting, marked by a sliding acoustic guitar progression and sparse percussion. "I'm as ugly as I seem / worse than all your dreams could ever make me," Jack sang.
"Red Rain" featured more of Jack's sweet, high-register singing and what sounded like a triangle or a xylophone, eventually toppled by sudden full-band blasts of rock with shades of past favorite "There's No Home for You Here."
"Get Behind Me Satan" closes with the soulful lament "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)," which imagined Jack on solo piano in a dusty saloon. "I miss my mother / I miss being her son," he sang, "Sometimes I miss her so much I want to hop on the next jet."
The new album will be supported by extensive touring, but at deadline, only a handful of dates were confirmed, beginning May 11 with a three-date run in Monterrey.