RACONTEURS – Consolers Of The Lonely (Third Man)
Jack White, Brendan Benson and the boys’ new album was completed and rush released within a month, mainly so that all formats would be available at the same time and no one section of the public had a march on the rest. To be honest I don’t think it really mattered that much, and it smacked of a Radiohead-style publicity stunt, so I ignored the hype, bought the triple gatefold double vinyl edition and bunged it on the turntable. I loved their first album, even though the general consensus of opinion now seems to be that it was not as good as everyone thought it was at the time. This one carries one from where ‘Broken Boy Soldiers’ left off, with White’s raw guitar-work cutting through every song - witness the title track, which starts us off with a bluesy riff and Benson’s lament of being ‘bored to tears’, before White’s guitar erupts from the speakers for a screaming solo. ‘Salute Your Solution’ is White’s turn at the mike, and of course sounds like the last Stripes album, but beefier because of the extra manpower. ‘You Don’t Understand Me’ is a mid paced ballad, piano led for the most part and pleasant enough, and its mood is carried into the Celtic tinged ‘Old Enough’. ‘The Switch And The Spur’ has some nice piano and guitar, and a Spanish sounding brass section, something like ‘Conquest’ from the last Stripes album. ‘Top Yourself’ goes all country rock with a jaunty tune quite at odds with the sombre lyric, and ‘Many Shades Of Black’ is one of Benson’s most commercial tracks, with a good brassy chorus and another of White’s squally solos. ‘Five On The Five’ and ‘Attention’ pull out all the stops for a couple of punky rockers, and they do a creditable cover of Terry Reid’s ‘Rich Kid’s Blues’. ‘Carolina Drama’ is one of their story songs, very Dylanish in concept but a tad more musical, and there you have it. Fans of the first album and of The White Stripes will find much to enjoy on here, so ignore the hype and give it a go.