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White Stripes

The Jack And Meg Show

StripesThere is something comforting in the fact that the White Stripes recorded their new Third Man/V2 set, "Elephant," in 10 short days. Rushed recording stints are expected of nascent bands bereft of big budgets and label backing. But last year was a key period for the White Stripes in terms of mainstream visibility. In 12 months, the band scored everything from three MTV Video Music Awards to two summer dates with the Rolling Stones while racking up sales of 631,000 copies for their album "White Blood Cells."

"We were completely unaffected," guitarist Jack White says. "We feel like we recorded the way we always had, which was great. Five of the songs were written there in the studio. A lot of it was just trying to see what we could come up with under this circumstance."

Given the sheer quality and confident swagger inherent in this dense batch of songs, "Elephant" will also likely win over first-time listeners. The opening "Seven Nation Army" (also the set's first single) begins with a thick guitar line played through an octave pedal, while Meg White's minimalist beats build up a charging, crashing tempo. The blistering, barn-burning "Black Math" features perhaps the most uncompromising marriage of thrashing guitar and drums set to tape since the Stooges' "Fun House."

Elsewhere, Meg takes the mic for "In the Cold, Cold Night," Thee Headcoates' Holly Golightly adds vocals to closer "It's True That We Love One Another," and the Stripes tackle Burt Bacharach on a cover of his "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself." The group will be on tour worldwide throughout the year, beginning April 7 in Wolverhampton, England.