Thursday, April 03, 2008

Consolers of the Lonely

I must confess...I had no idea "supergroup" The Raconteurs were working on a second album--which is why me, and the rest of the music-loving world was shocked when it came out last week. Consisting of Jack White (of The White Stripes fame) and most/all of the garage band The Greenhorens, The Raconteurs play a crunchy hard rock. A bit like Led Zeppelin meets later Who records.

CONSOLERS OF THE LONELY is ragged, jagged, and bat-shit crazy. As an overall piece of music, I'd say it's probably the weakest thing White's name is attached to. But there are pieces of brilliance. First the bad: the songs aren't very catchy, Jack's voice is (somehow) screech-ier than usual, and the album has a few songs that just don't work ("Many Shades of Black" I'm looking at you). When I first heard "Many Shades of Black" all I could say to myself was "What the hell were you thinking?" It sounds like a fucking John Mayer song. I also really miss Jack's playful/weird songs that usually pepper a White Stripes album (which I know this isn't). The closest thing we get is the short little country-rock ditty "Pull This Blanket Off," which is good but too short. The album's last song, "Carolina Drama" feels like a forced "Rocky Raccoon" knock-off that misses the mark and lands in Jerry Springer territory. Ugh, it's not very good.

What's bad is really bad on this record ("Mandy Shades of Black") but what is good is really good. The album's bombastic single, "Salute Your Solution" and the almost New Wave-sounding "Attention" are both fantastic. Lyrically they're not much to write home about, but both feature some fantastic guitar work (this album is chock full-o-solos). I'm also particularly fond of the piano and harmonies on "You Don't Understand Me" (which almost sounds like ELO). I was also oddly moved by "These Stones Will Shout" for reasons I'd rather not share (how do ya like that?).

Overall, CONSOLERS OF THE LONELY is a lot like the band's first album, BROKEN BOY SOLDIERS--in that it's technically very well done, but just doesn't do it for me.


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