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The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan

Get Behind Me Satan delivers the same stuff that got you addicted to The White Stripes from their beginnings

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Black, white and red. Jack and Meg. Guess what? They’re back in all their motifed glory! The White Stripes release their latest album, Get Behind Me Satan, after a series of spectacular garage rock albums past (a great lot of which was covered by orchestras and a certain soul singer, Joss Stone). This time around, they’ve stuck with their melodic garage rock charm that’s gotten them as far as they are with mostly just a principle guitar and drum set. They add in a bit of old school art deco, and huzzah—it’s a fancy version of what’s old is new again.

Here’s some album trivia—the whole thing was recorded in Jack White’s Detroit Third Man Studios in only two weeks. Now that’s taking care of business. They must work well under pressure because the result is 13 well-finished tracks of their classic material. The great lot of it is melodic garage rock infused with blues and a little country. They return with their simplistic and straightforward lyrics that keep with the style of old school rock. They use pianos to flourish their tales, electric guitar to rip up the choruses, drums to rumble a sassy beat, and a new introduction of triangle, bells, marimba, and tambourine to spice things up (and represent the new Spanish, mariachi-inspired image of their album art).

Get Behind Me Satan delivers the same stuff that got you addicted to The White Stripes from their beginnings. In the same way, it also broadens their already extensive play list with a flair for the foreign. Their melodies remain as strong as ever, as does the energy that only The White Stripes can deliver. Whatever it may be, it’s got everyone doing their best air-guitar (privately of course).

(V2 Records)

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Hatchie – Keepsake

Keepsake, the debut album by Brisbane dream pop artist Hatchie is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars

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Hatchie Keepsake

Brisbane indie-pop artist Hatchie (known to her friends and family as Harriette Pilbeam) is in the envious position of being a pop artist unspoiled by the many trappings of what it is to be a modern pop artist. Unlike some of her contemporaries who craft music by committee or with Sheeran-like self-importance, Hatchie is as of now, unsullied by the pressures of the cookie-cutter pop machine. Hatchie’s debut full length is a showcase for a talent who is supremely confident and composed in her abilities, and Keepsake is musical luminescence that can only be described as music written for the stars. The album is also a wonderful throwback to pop’s dreamy 60s influences that shuffle in and out of this delirium while working alongside distinctly more current musical touches.

There is the lush dream pop sounds of “Without a Blush”, taking cues from the best of what Stars and Goldfrapp conjure but heaping a tonne of Pilbeam’s charisma on it. Like her vocals, “Without a Blush” has this elegance that has the ability to elevate songs from being beautiful to grand. It is the kind of vocal elegance that really shines through on songs like the skittering, beat-driven “Obsessed” and the alternative, guitar-fuelled (yay!) “When I Get Out”. Indie/electronic closer “Keep” is a wonderful end to proceedings.

However, the great strength of Keepsake is not just its composure in how all the songs have been put together. It is also this genuine, natural-sounding quality that permeates the album- nothing overly written, overly produced or put together by research groups or music analysts. It just sounds like talent. We can argue that much of pop music is constructed to appease the moment- designed to grab as much attention as possible in an A.D.D. world. And sure, that can be said about almost any kind of music, but the resulting aural tone of Keepsake is anything but transient or transparent.

The best way to combat tepid chart-topping music is to write better pop songs. Songs like “Her Own Heart” and the disco-toned “Stay” are examples of pop music that come across as timeless. We are moved by the songs found on Keepsake when we listen to them today. And I suspect that in 10 years time, or in 20, we will most likely feel the same. It is rare to find the sort of ageless beauty you find on Keepsake.

(Heavenly Recordings)

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