You might ask yourself if pop music needs another duo from the Midwest with the last name of White. White Mystery is Alex and Francis White, a brother-sister duo from Chicago. They don’t break any new ground with their debut release of the same name, but neither do they knock-off Detroit’s better-known White Stripes.
As one of Pitchfork’s writers pointed out (White Mystery got a whopping 7.2 out of 10), the band is a high-compression visit to American rock of the 1960s. While Jack White found his muse in the primitive Delta blues of the 1920s, garage rock is a term that gets thrown around a lot in any discussion of White Mystery. Garage has become synonymous with that initial explosion of rock-and-roll energy and the ensuing spirit of insurrection that scared the crap out of most baby boomers’ parents.
True to garage-rocker form, Miss Alex White (as she was known in her previous band the Red Orchestra) sings all-out gritty and slightly flat like Big Brother & the Holding Company, and her vintage guitar is warped by the same fuzz tone that was used over and over by countless garage heroes, such as the Standells or the Seeds. Alex’s brother Francis sings harmonies right out of the Jefferson Airplane songbook, and his drumming could be called one big fill pattern.
Following the British Invasion in 1964, four-piece outfits sprouted in garages all across America. There is the lingering thought that White Mystery (named after an AirHeads candy flavor) won’t work for those of us who were actually around for the 1960s, but not so. Alex and Francis White like that music as much as we do, if in a deconstructed sort of way.
Christmas Island also performs.
- Monday, August 9, 2010, 8 p.m.
- Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego