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click to enlarge White Stripes  - Icky Thump  -  -  - Warner Bros.  -  - Sounds like: A familiar White Stripes album -  - Short take: Another hit-and-miss effort -  - Ever since the White Stripes snuck up on the mainstream, - expectations have played havoc with the Detroit band. - Complicating matters further is the fact that the duo's - live show is a magical experience, while studio efforts - sound calculated. So here's Icky Thump, with - bluesy ball-breakers "You Don't Know What Love is (You - Just Do As You're Told)" and the title track finding Jack - showing off his guitar chops in fine fashion. However, it's - the Led Zep II-sounding "300 M.P.H. Torrential - Outpour Blues"  with a subtle guitar melody hook and - intermittent moments of hell breaking loose  that - reveals the White Stripes atop its game. Still, the - twosome's streak of not releasing a definitively great - album remains intact.  John - Benson -
  • White Stripes

    Icky Thump

    Warner Bros.

    Sounds like: A familiar White Stripes album

    Short take: Another hit-and-miss effort

    Ever since the White Stripes snuck up on the mainstream, expectations have played havoc with the Detroit band. Complicating matters further is the fact that the duo's live show is a magical experience, while studio efforts sound calculated. So here's Icky Thump, with bluesy ball-breakers "You Don't Know What Love is (You Just Do As You're Told)" and the title track finding Jack showing off his guitar chops in fine fashion. However, it's the Led Zep II-sounding "300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues" with a subtle guitar melody hook and intermittent moments of hell breaking loose that reveals the White Stripes atop its game. Still, the twosome's streak of not releasing a definitively great album remains intact. John Benson

click to enlarge Mark Ronson  - Version  -  -  - Columbia / U.S. release date: July - 10  -  - Sounds like: Pop rock by way of Motown -  - Short take: Radio hits via a rowdy '30s big - band -  - Multi-instrumentalist, DJ and producer Mark Ronson's - Version is a covers album in name only. The - guest-heavy affair is time-warped and brassy: to pop - hits strings are attached liberally, whole orchestras are - employed, and funk ideals are upheld without losing any - thread of the originals. Version's guest list - includes Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and Kasabian jazzily - reinterpreting songs by Coldplay, Ryan Adams and - Radiohead. Not that Ronson can be bothered to just - straight reinvent these songs either  the DJ in him - mashes them up even more. The Smith's funked-up - "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" - tangents into The Supremes "You Keep Me Hangin' On." - Purists are balking already.  Matt Martin -
  • Mark Ronson

    Version

    Columbia / U.S. release date: July 10

    Sounds like: Pop rock by way of Motown

    Short take: Radio hits via a rowdy '30s big band

    Multi-instrumentalist, DJ and producer Mark Ronson's Version is a covers album in name only. The guest-heavy affair is time-warped and brassy: to pop hits strings are attached liberally, whole orchestras are employed, and funk ideals are upheld without losing any thread of the originals. Version's guest list includes Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and Kasabian jazzily reinterpreting songs by Coldplay, Ryan Adams and Radiohead. Not that Ronson can be bothered to just straight reinvent these songs either the DJ in him mashes them up even more. The Smith's funked-up "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" tangents into The Supremes "You Keep Me Hangin' On." Purists are balking already. Matt Martin

click to enlarge Adam Franklin  - Bolts of Melody  -  -  - Hi-Speed Soul  -  - Sounds like: Music to dream away the day -  - Short take: Sonic aspirations tempered with - acoustic guitars -  - Lost in the '90s hype for U.K. alt-rock acts was - Swervedriver, with an enticing palette of sonic guitars - and trippy vocals. But the outfit existed in the margins, - which led to its 1999 breakup. Now singer-guitarist - Adam Franklin has released his debut solo effort, - Bolts of Melody. It deconstructs his old group's - frenetics, unabashedly exploring textures of mid-tempo - ambience. The one touchstone is Franklin's detached - vocals, giving acoustic dalliances "Sundown" and "Song - of Solomon" a mysterious quality. Swervedriver - possessed an oblique quality, found in spades on - Bolts of Melody. This is just a puzzle piece for - diehard Swervedriver fans staring at an empty table. -  John Benson
  • Adam Franklin

    Bolts of Melody

    Hi-Speed Soul

    Sounds like: Music to dream away the day

    Short take: Sonic aspirations tempered with acoustic guitars

    Lost in the '90s hype for U.K. alt-rock acts was Swervedriver, with an enticing palette of sonic guitars and trippy vocals. But the outfit existed in the margins, which led to its 1999 breakup. Now singer-guitarist Adam Franklin has released his debut solo effort, Bolts of Melody. It deconstructs his old group's frenetics, unabashedly exploring textures of mid-tempo ambience. The one touchstone is Franklin's detached vocals, giving acoustic dalliances "Sundown" and "Song of Solomon" a mysterious quality. Swervedriver possessed an oblique quality, found in spades on Bolts of Melody. This is just a puzzle piece for diehard Swervedriver fans staring at an empty table. John Benson

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