Elephant – The fourth album from The White Stripes… the follow-up to the million-selling White Blood Cells. Elephant - Jack White claims the title describes the personalities at play in the band, his and Meg’s – power and innocence. The album is dedicated to “The Death of the Sweetheart”.
Elephant was recorded at East London’s Toe Rag Studios in a brief two-week stint. In keeping with the spirit of the band, Toe Rag is devoid of digital equipment. Its 8-track vintage recording equipment has been sourced from BBC storage rooms, garden sheds and the Redd 17 mixing desk was even salvaged from Abbey Road. The studio is a tribute to the immediacy and excitement of the original British Invasion bands of the sixties.
One listen to Elephant will reveal that this album has a similar directness and urgency. The White Stripes recently played a gig at London’s Royal Albert Hall, with legendary British guitarist Jeff Beck joining them for a full set of songs for his time with The Yardbirds. Elephant reflects the attack, power and deft touch that are synonymous with that classic strain of garage rock. Check out Seven Nation Army and Ball & Biscuit for the evidence.
When asked by Rolling Stone about the feel of the new record, Jack White responded, "I thought it was going to be quieter, but it ended up being this really intense rock & roll record". That said the terrain covered here is expansive. The band turn in a crunching interpretation of the Bacharach/David ballad I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself. The multi-tracked vocals on There’s No Home For You Here see White Stripes straying in to new sonic territory. You’ve Got Her In Your Pocket enjoys an innocent pop naiveté. I Want To Be The Boy and The Air Near My Fingers have pianos to the fore. Meg takes the lead on Cold Cold Night and Little Acorns might even have a New Wave hint to it. Closing track, It’s True We Love One Another sounds live and direct from a folk blues club’s hootenanny night.