The White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights The White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights

The White Stripes - Under Great White Northern Lights

The White Stripes - Under Great White Northern Lights

Yes, it has been a while since we have last heard the rumblings of a new White Stripes album, and this is the closest it is going to get for now.  Spawning two side projects (The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather) has allowed Jack White, co-founder of the White Stripes, to broaden his musical horizons while Meg White, drummer, recovers from a bout of acute anxiety.  That anxiety forced The White Stripes to cancel 18 tour dates in 2007, shortly after the band’s tour through Canada from which these live tracks derive.

Still using the same haggard and lo-fi guitars as he was ten years ago, Jack White shows he can shred with the best of them.   This 16 track live album incorporates more elements than just the two mainstay members at times, with bagpipes played by Jack’s “cousin”.  While of course each of these tracks have been heard before it is nice to hear them in a live setting, as an infusion of energy is given to certain tracks.  One of such tracks is “300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues” where Jack White completely drowns out his drummer and former wife with frantic, on the brink, strumming and singing.

Certain oldies are heard with a new take, such as “Fell In Love With A Girl” which is performed with a slower more blues feel to it.  A crisp and fast paced mandolin on “Little Ghost” and “Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn” comes across as stimulating, energetic, and joyous.   “Seven Nation Army” as a closer is fitting, including an engrossed crowd chanting through the guitar riff.  As is most of anything done by The White Stripes, Jack White is the constant attraction, this live album is not the exception.

Jointly released with a tour documentary I also would suggest seeing that if at all interested.  Peeling back the cover on the lives of both Jack and Meg is not an easy thing to do, only a flash of their personal lives is shown through the documentary but it is enough to keep it intriguing.  Foreshadowing and hints of Meg’s oncoming anxiety are apparent towards the conclusion.

As a solo piece of work, the live album is enough to whet an appetite until a new White Stripes project ferments.  If attending a White Stripes show has not been crossed off your bucket list yet, this is a good learning tool on what to anticipate.  Plentiful amount of tracks dense with energy and charisma from a ripening Jack White is always welcome, albeit if there are no new songs present.  This is a live album entirely worth giving a few spins.

The White Stripes - Under Great White Northern Lights, reviewed by Baer on 2010-04-08T09:04:46-07:00 rating 3.6 out of 5

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