“Ear Candy,” Pacific Northwest Inlander
Posted Monday, November 5th, 2012 at 4:20 pm
Ear Candy: There’s another White duo worthy of your attention
Rock ‘n’ roll product sponsorships tend to run toward music equipment: guitars, strings, cymbals, maybe the occasional shoe or energy drink. But for one enterprising young duo from Chicago, luck came in the form of a candy.
Redheaded brother and sister garage rock duo White Mystery currently have shows sponsored by Airheads: those loveable, corn syrup-taffy concoctions that are the cornerstone of many a middle school diet. Depending on your familiarity with these delightful treats, you may recall that along with more pedestrian tastes like cherry and green apple, they offer the elusive White Mystery flavor. A partnership was born.
And it fits. The band’s snotty, adolescent rock ‘n’roll is as tasty as a few of the little neon sugar bombs during fifth-period algebra.
Fronted by singer/guitarist Alex White and anchored by her brother Francis Scott Key White on the drums, White Mystery was formed in 2008 and has since been carving a jagged swath across the country with a touring schedule that would bring most bands to their knees. They’ve shared the stage with acts as diverse as Shonen Knife, the Stooges and Mavis Staples.
Cynics will inevitably point out the similarities with other two-piece throwbacks and specifically with the other “brother and sister” White — but White Mystery are a breed apart, filling out their songs with a manic energy and simple approach, turning every show into a sweaty, parents-are-out-of-town basement party.
It’s all a bit tongue-in-cheek and one gets the impression that they take themselves considerably less seriously than others with whom they share a format. That vibe is fully evident on their two self-released LPs, 2010’s self-titled White Mystery and 2011’s Blood & Venom. Both records were released on 4/20, so stoners, take that for what you will.
Their sound, a combination of 1960s Midwestern suburban garage and good old-fashioned boogie rock, is deliciously unhinged, with Alex’s guitar front and center. Named one of Guitar World’s “Top Ten Female Guitarists You Should Know,” she handles her Rickenbacker like the lovechild of The Cramps’ Poison Ivy and Link Wray, and probably deserves a spot on many other canned guitar magazine “best of” lists, with or without the gender qualifier. Lest you get the wrong idea, brother Francis’ drumming is the other crucial element, keeping a frenzied, unrelenting pace and providing a worthy sibling foil.
Whether or not your trick-or-treating excursions netted you any Airheads, White Mystery promises to offer ample opportunity to sweat out all that sugar, and if you still need proof that the two-piece garage rock thing has any gas left in the tank, look no further than this sibling pair from the Windy City.
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