Pin It
Favorite

CD Review 

by Mike Corrigan


Rather than take the easy way through the accessibility door that was flung open to them with the surprise success of 2001's White Blood Cells, Jack and Meg White pull a fast one and high-tail it back to the urban ruins where they were spawned. Elephant (V2) is all Detroit Rock City from the dirty, primitive side with the occasional trip into the delta soul. All told, it's a weirder, heavier ride than the group's breakthrough, too inherently idiosyncratic to be easily reined in and placed in a box. It also showcases some of the most hellacious six-string skronk of the year thus far. Evidence: "There's No Home for You Here," a whiplash-inducing ride that careens between brassy T-Rex glam and hushed insistence with an ear-splitting guitar screed thrown in for added emphasis.


Working with a purposefully limited palette (pretty much just guitar, drums and Jack's alternately sweet and dementedly bluesy vocals), the duo flexes considerable creative muscle, resulting in amazingly divergent sounds, textures and moods while pushing hard into unexpected domains.


"Seven Nation Army" gets Elephant off to a gratuitous good time with nothing more than a thick, fuzzy, one-string riff and a simple backbeat. By the time Jack's fractured vocals start emoting, you're hooked. "Black Math" surrenders track economy to a layered, roaring, big muff guitar freakout. Meg takes over the lead vox on "In the Cold, Cold Night" to generally good effect, while Jack manages to invoke old-time values (of a sort) and modern sensibilities even when he's engaging in the most apocalyptic, sexed-up rock this side of Led Zeppelin (check out the straight-up filthy swagger of "Ball and Biscuit"). The irresistibly daft "Hypnotise" updates an oldies theme with smartly spun (and typically cheeky) lyrics and a deliciously cramped guitar sound that would surely get boring old farts like Eric Clapton in a huff.


Elephant closes with "It's True That We Love One Another," a cute call and response between Jack, Meg and (perhaps?) Jack's new lover that playfully messes with the brother/sister/hubby/wifey media-fueled confusion over the true nature of the duo's personal relationship (Meg: "I love Jack White like a little brother").


What makes the White Stripes so much fun, it seems, is Jack and Meg's ability to remain enigmatic even when they're doing their best to be completely honest.





Publication date: 05/01/03
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • This Isn't Normal
  • This Isn't Normal

    America has gone down this road before, and it's a dead end
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Incendiary Words
  • Incendiary Words

    Trail Mix: Trump's gifts to civics teachers everywhere
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Downtown Family Skate Day

Downtown Family Skate Day @ Riverfront Park

Sun., Dec. 4, 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Mike Corrigan

  • Lights, Camera, Skate
  • Lights, Camera, Skate

    Two local artists have transformed their love of skateboarding into a new variety show on Community Television.
    • Dec 14, 2011
  • For Your Consideration
  • For Your Consideration

    A raucous good time from Thee Oh Sees. Plus, vintage horror and a Berlin filmmaker to check out.
    • Nov 22, 2011
  • Time Travelers
  • Time Travelers

    For some local store owners, finding intriguing merchandise isn’t just business, it’s an obsession.
    • Nov 22, 2011
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • The Scourge of Fake News

    Made-up news stories played a role in the presidential election: Who's to blame?
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


election 2016


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Healing Forward
  • Healing Forward

    Why Spokane shouldn't try to collectively own the Dolezal scandal
    • Jun 24, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation