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THE WHITE STRIPES - GET BEHIND ME SATAN - FREESPIRIT INDIA
Record Rating: ****

The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan - Freespirit India 2001’s White Blood Cells made this band a hip household name, largely thanks to their now-trademark red-and-black style and self-created rumors that they were brother and sister, when in fact they are ex-husband and wife. By the time Elephant (recorded in two weeks and dedicated to "the death of the sweetheart") appeared in 2003, they were international rock stars, with Jack even dating Hollywood superstar Renee Zellweger and turning up in appearances in her movies.

Get Behind Me Satan is the band’s latest effort and at first listen it sounds even more bizarre than the predecessor. Virtually all of the album’s thirteen songs deal in some way with an internal battle between good and evil, offering up more noise and the sweet counterpoints a little more sugar.

First single Blue Orchid probably deceived listeners into thinking that the entire album would be a head-banging ordeal, and though the album offers very little as radio friendly as Fell in Love with a Girl, the band's nods to the blues and progressive rock have grown more confident. 1970’ acts like Supertramp and Wishbone Ash are used as stepping-stones rather than crutches, as the piano driven My Doorbell or marimba laden The Nurse shows.

Whether they’re banging drums on the incendiary The Denial Twist or singing an innocent acoustic pre-adolescent love paean, the duo is consistent, exploring love, disillusionment and rejection in their music with a razor-sharp focus. Meg also takes a turn in taking the lead vocals on the short Passive Manipulation, which tends to remind us why she’s the drummer and Jack is the main singer-songwriter. Though possibly not their best record, Get Behind Me Satan is a dizzyingly diverse effort that delivers some of the fiercest blues punk of the White Stripes career. Good for a couple of spins.

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