Matt Gemmell

TOLL is available now!

An action-thriller novel — book 2 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

Elephant – The White Stripes

music 1 min read

Prior to today, I'd never knowingly listened to anything by the White Stripes, 
but upon hearing a track whilst browsing in HMV (which turned out to be 
<em>Seven Nation Army</em>), then hearing another immediately afterwards (
<em>Black Math</em>), I was sold. After asking one of the shelf monkeys what 
it was, I bought <em>Elephant</em> and brought it home.
The most well-known songs would tend to characterise <em>Elephant</em> as a probably 
once-off collection of punchy, medium-rock tracks, but on an extended listening 
you find that there's actually a very tight and mature sound running throughout, 
and not at all self-conscious nor flagging (this being their fourth album, after all 
- I think). Jack White's slightly rough-edged and sometimes even whiny vocals 
convey an overriding sense of certainty and relevance, contrasted interestingly 
with Meg White's still rather tentative voice.

Track 4 is worthy of special mention, being a uniquely melancholy (and even desperate) 
cover of Burt Bacharach's <em>I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself</em>. The first 
track, the aforementioned <em>Seven Nation Army</em>, smacks of contemporary rock 
classic from the opening seven guitar notes, and the alternating metre of the lyrics 
drives the song almost as much as the weighty and insistent bass guitar throughout. 
<em>Black Math</em> and <em>Hypnotize</em> are similarly memorable for their brashness 
and unashamed attitude, but the slow and thin <em>In The Cold, Cold Night</em> remains 
at the front of mind even amongst such excellent competition - probably for the sharp 
contrast from the warm assertiveness of the rest of the album. In context, the track 
is quite haunting, and a welcome change of pace which is perfectly positioned in the 
track list.

<em>Elephant</em> is an extremely tightly-constructed, solid and intelligent album that 
has managed to earn a place both on my iPod (in its entirety) and in the car all within 
half a day; a very rare thing, believe me. Buy it at 
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Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to return some videotapes.