White Stripes, The - ElephantLabel: Third Man Records
Lo-fi in production and uncompromising in approach, ELEPHANT finds The White Stripes continuing to walk to the beat of their own pomo blues drummer in ignoring the enormous expectations heaped on the follow-up to 2001's smash WHITE BLOOD CELLS. Recorded in two weeks, this outing is packed with loose, soulful, and delightfully unpretentious songs that rage and howl. Jack and Meg White hit the ground running with the chugging shuffle "Seven Nation", with its infectious bass line and thudding cadence. Surprises abound, from the wall of Queen-like harmonies that infuse the choppy, psychedelia-tinged "There's No Room for You Here" or a reading of Burt Bacharach's "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself" bursting at the seams with distorted guitar. Not surprisingly, the blues are never far from the equation, particularly on the heavy stomper "Ball and Biscuit" with its bursts of screaming guitar solos. Equally impressive is Jack White's slide guitar on the pleading "I Want to Be the Boy to Warm Your Mother's Heart" and six-string histrionics on the chugging "Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine" that shakes and shimmies with Stooges-like aggression.