Wednesday 29 January 2020

Ex White Stripe takes a sure shot at eclectomania

John Meagher

John Meagher

jack white

Blunderbuss

(XL Recordings)

HHHHH

Although nobody could accuse Jack White of slackening off in recent times -- he made two albums as a member of The Raconteurs and one with The Dead Weather -- his singular vision has been palpably diluted in his post-White Stripes incarnations. You have to go back to Icky Thump, the last album he made with ex-wife Meg White, to enjoy Jack undiluted.

Blunderbuss demonstrates just what we have been missing out on. Easily, one of the best albums of 2012 so far, it sees White embrace all facets of his career to date. The self-imposed rigidity of the White Stripe's retro-blues rock is present and correct, but so too is the wildly varied music he has made as a collaborator/producer (with the likes of Wanda Jackson) and as a member of the aforementioned bands.

What emerges is a hugely eclectic album, one that includes a ruminative piano-led number Love Interruption; a song that seems to have emerged hermetically sealed from 1956, I'm Shakin'; a slice of late 1960s psychedelia Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy; an anthemic monster bound to be a future favourite for air guitarists everywhere, 16 Saltines; and a mid-tempo, heartstrings-tugger replete with violin solo I Guess I Should Go to Sleep.

What's remarkable is how White has managed to retain the quality control on such a mixed-bag and, not just that, but he has managed to make an album that exceeds the sum of its parts.

Live performances should be special too, because in typical White fashion he's opted to do something very different.

He will be accompanied on tour by two backing bands -- one all-male, the other all-female.

He will apparently decide on the morning of each gigs which songs will be performed by which band.

Incidentally, White's erstwhile Raconteurs bandmate, Brendan Benson, releases his latest solo album next Friday. The gauntlet has been thrown down, Brendan!

Key tracks I'm Shakin'; I Guess I Should Go to Sleep; Love Interruption

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