“The dirtiest rock n’ roll I’ve heard in years. And that’s quite a feat.” Loud Loop Press
Posted Friday, June 25th, 2010 at 4:27 pm
“Now I know the future is mine, so I switch it off,” sings Miss Alex White of Chicago garage-revival duo White Mystery on the track “Switch It Off” from their latest self-titled full length release. The future is indeed the band’s as they’ve garnered plenty of much deserved attention from local and national press. But the band’s musical sense is also to indeed switch the future off. White Mystery seem to look backward rather than face the future with their short, raucous and abrasive tunes that recalls 1950’s era soulful rock n’ roll. Yet the band also offers up a dangerously carefree swagger that’s obviously influenced by the 1970’s arena era classic rock. This combination results in an explosive and exhilarating 30 minute experience.
Garage rock duo is a term that’s pretty much met with almost no enthusiasm these days since Jack White of the White Stripes seems to have perfected the technique. In fact, these days “garage rock” more often than not usually means a band that plays loud and fast to compensate for their lo-fi production. Luckily for us, White Mystery are much more than that.
Miss Alex White, formerly of Miss Alex White & the Red Orchestra, and brother Francis White have created garage rock that sounds emotionally and purposely driven. They’re not just playing loud and fast to compensate for anything — they’re playing loud and fast because they want to, and that’s why it’s so good. Behind that scratchy, non-compressed hiss that engulfs the record are two finely honed musicians pounding out riot-ready anthems.
For instance, “Lions of Tsavo” opens with a crooked and detuned guitar riff. If hearing this at a bar by some soft spoken college wanna-be garage rock band, it might cause the listener to chuckle and look away. But when Miss Alex White wields that guitar string down to its most undesirable level then enters with her ghostly cry, it’s completely engaging because it’s so visceral and real. Honestly, the entire album, which stretches merely half and hour, sounds like a classic one-take live session. Each song slams in the the next leaving the listener almost zero room to catch his or her breathe.
The aforementioned “Switch It Off”, opens with a dancing wall of fuzz riff until it breaks down into a more tense and nerve-filled clean section that is powered by Francis’ rapid drum fills. Though the song never regains the full-head-of-steam approach laid down by it’s opening riff, it gradually increases energy and all that fuzz returns for the coda.
When Miss Alex White’s slightly off-key shrieks open up “Halloween” instead of pushing the listener out, it pulls the listener in as it perfectly floats on top of some wicked sounding early soul-inspired guitar. “Power Glove” rattles with it’s 1950’s twist-and-shout groove, while Alex’s “Woo Woo Woo, Baby!” drives the song like a speeding locomotive. Francis even showcases his vocal skills by shouting the command “Don’t Hold My Hand!” in the song of the same name, while Alex lays down some swinging, gritty doo-wop riffage.
It’s albums like White Mystery that are really make music life-affirming. It’s raw. it’s powerful and, most importantly, it’s real. As we’re barraged with Lady GaGas, Animal Collectives and auto-tune mayhem every which way we turn, a fiery red-headed bro-sis duo from Chicago saves the day with the dirtiest rock n’ roll I’ve heard in years. And that’s quite a feat.
By submitting a comment here you grant White Mystery a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.