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Album Review

Despite their reputation as garage rock revivalists, the White Stripes display an impressive range of styles on their second album, De Stijl, which is Dutch for "the style." Perhaps the album's diversity — which incorporates elements of bubblegum, cabaret, blues, and classic rock — shouldn't come as a surprise from a band that dedicates its album to bluesman Blind Willie McTell and Dutch artist Gerrit Rietveld. Nevertheless, it's refreshing to hear the band go from the Tommy James-style pop of "You're Pretty Good Looking" to the garagey stomp of "Hello Operator" in a one-two punch. It's even more impressive that the theatrical, piano-driven ballad "Apple Blossom" and a cover of Son House's "Death Letter" go so well together on the same album. Jack White's understated production work and versatile guitar playing and vocals also stand out on the languid, fuzzy "Sister, Do You Know My Name?" as well as insistent rockers like "Little Bird" and "Why Can't You Be Nicer to Me?" As distinctive as it is diverse, De Stijl blends the Stripes' arty leanings with enough rock muscle to back up the band's ambitions.

Biography

Formed: 1997 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The White Stripes formed on Bastille Day in 1997, aiming to create simple, vigorous rock & roll with little more than Meg White's percussion and Jack White's guitar-and-vocal attack. Meg's drumming was deliberate and straightforward, while Jack's formidable guitar skills paid homage to garage rock, blues, and punk. A former drummer for the Detroit-based country outfit Goober & the Peas, he also displayed an affinity for American folk music, and the White Stripes took strength in the varied...
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