Even accounting for that, though, Elephant is a fantastic album. It picks up where White Blood Cells left off and takes our red and white kissing-sibling heros away from the rough punk edge of the Strokes and the Hives and straight towards the blues. Jack White manages to get more music out of his guitar than some bands get out of two guitars and an electric bass, and there's some outstanding guitar work on here -- especially on "Ball and Biscuit", a straight-ahead twelve-bar blues with an extended guitar solo which could belong as much in the Chess catalogue as here, and which had me sitting staring at the speakers for its duration.
But most of what's here is what fans have come to expect from the White Stripes, delivered without disappointment. It's kept as interesting as always -- their cover of Burt Bacharach's "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself", the 70's-guitar-rock choruses of "There's No Home For You Here", Meg White handling lead vocals on the almost-sultry "In The Cold, Cold Night", Jack playing piano and Rhodes on a few tracks, and a guest appearance by Holly Golightly (!) -- but it's never gimmicky. This is an album of what the White Stripes do best, and they do it as well as ever.