Since the release of 2003's incredible Elephant, Jack White has enjoyed success of a different sort with the film and soundtrack to Cold Mountain, produced Loretta Lynn's mind-blowing comeback CD Van Lear Rose, broke up from a high-profile actress and got married. Somewhere along the way, he apparently decided to grab Meg White, a stack of his favorite Led Zeppelin and bluegrass albums, a marimba and piano, and lock himself in a studio to see what came out.
The results are as amazing as they are confounding. Anyone expecting White Blood Cells or Elephant Part 2 will likely be disappointed with this disc. But for all the Stripes fans who knew there was even more creativity beneath their great garage-blues sheen, GBMS is a sign of exciting things to come. Jack and Meg have combined everything they learned from Jack's foray into bluegrass, while he has developed his own take on Robert Plant's signature vocal delivery. The results are something that isn't quite signature White Stripes, isn't quite Zep and isn't quite Loretta Lynn. Here, rather, is something new and different that the music world is better for having been given.
There's nothing as immediately catchy here as Seven Nation Army or Fell in Love With a Girl, and the album as a whole is less a sonic kick in the arse a la Elephant, as it is an adventure in melodic boundaries. Ultimately though, this disc ranks comfortably amongst the group's greatest efforts.