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The White Stripes 

With Whirlwind Heat. Sunday, November 30, at the Agora Theatre.

The White Stripes
  • The White Stripes
So there's the British press, picking out marble slabs to start chiselin'. And Spin magazine sacks its graphics department, 'cause it's cheaper to have an intern slap White Stripes pix through every issue. Meanwhile, the Stripes themselves seem to be grasping a raft that's escaping the sinking "garage" ship.

But this is America. The White Stripes still don't have a bona fide hit song -- a they-play-it-at-Legacy-Village hit. So the cutesy red/white outfit thing is looking like Flock of Seagulls hair to Johnny Sixpack. And the in-crowd that once propped them now loves to leave 'em. So it's very possible that this act could sink any minute now into Tracy Chapman territory -- critical faves playing vaguely rootsy music to mainstreeters who still don't much like roots music.

So what does the Detroit duo do? By all recent accounts, it thrashes about with a big loud angry angle, right into the faces of its largest, squarest audiences yet. It's an obvious tack, given that most post-indie rockers can't just enjoy their success -- they must explain it to the cred gatekeepers. We're not so sure it wouldn't be better if the Stripes just went all Eurythmics and got a full band and played epic pop, what with those melodramatic pipes Jack White's got. Of course, there's a very good chance this ex-goth kid still hates the world, so get ready for more bitching, which is usually preferable to contentment when it comes to art. This could get interesting.

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