WHITE STRIPES – Get Behind Me Satan (XL Recordings)

There was much hype about this album before it slipped out among the general public, most notably the fact that Jack White had apparently taken to composing his music on a marimba! Were we to be treated to a Latin American White Stripes? Thankfully no, although while some of the songs do keep the marimba as the main instrument, for the most part it is guitar and drums as usual. Opening track and first single ‘Blue Orchid’ is classic Stripes – the down and dirty blues based, riff-laden rock at which they excel. The marimba makes its first appearance on ‘The Nurse’, but when combined with the atonal guitar crashes and Meg’s crazy drumming it does not actually sound that out of place. Current single ‘My Doorbell’ does not really sound like a chart contender, but then there are not really that many single choices on this album, with a lot of the songs being strange in the extreme. ‘Little Ghost’ is yee-haw country and western, ‘White Moon’ is piano and drums with no discernable chorus, and ‘Passive Manipulation’ is 35 seconds of solo Meg. ‘Take, Take, Take’ is one of the best tracks here, being the tale of an obsessive fan of Rita Hayworth’s, who meets her in a bar and despite his every request being granted by her is still not satisfied. ‘Instinct Blues’ is the most basic blues track here, and is one of the few tracks where White really lets rip on his guitar. ‘Red Rain’ is almost as good, and has some good riffs, but more of this raw rock would have been most welcome. Despite this being hailed as yet another masterpiece by all and sundry I find that there are even fewer really outstanding tracks on here than on the patchy ‘Elephant’, which in turn was a disappointment after the excellence of ‘White Blood Cells’. It seems that the amount of praise that the Stripes generate is in inverse proportion to the quality of their albums, so start seeking out their early work for examples of how great they once were.