The Atlanta-based musicians known for their stylish manipulation of shoegazer drone and dissonance make nice this time around. As a whole, the album falls closer to ambient pop than anything else. But there are surprises to be found. For these surprises, Microcastle shows its flexibility and its smarts. The title track is quiet and meditative before its ups the tempo and ante. The piano-driven "Green Jacket" is another lullaby, one that echoes and resonates beyond the brevity of its two-minute length.
"Nothing Ever Happened" holds a surprise. Having more in common with the tracks like "Lake Somerset" from last year's Cryptograms, it marches forward with pulsing glee. "Saved By Old Times," the next track on the album, shifts gears again, this time by adding a vocal appearance from Black Lips' singer-guitarist Cole Alexander. And the old times providing salvation? Turns out that '50s-style pop still works miracles.
Jack and Meg White make solid albums full of studio experimentation unleashed by the characteristic wildness of live performances. Icky Thump is no exception with respect to its musical quality: