Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Jack White - "Blunderbuss"

Jack White released his highly-anticipated first solo album, Blunderbuss last week on his own Third Man Records imprint in conjunction with Columbia Records.  Lyrically, it is his most viscerally personal album yet which was almost expected as it comes shortly after the disbandment of the Whites Stripes and his recent divorce.  Musically though, the 13-song album still features his distinct brand of bluesy garage rock and his signature squalling guitar solos but also delves into soulful country and folk.  Jack is backed up by two separate all-male and all-female backing bands and the upbeat music is not affected by the darker, more honest lyrics.

A Fender Rhodes piano and acoustic guitar opens the album on the southern soul dust-up, "Missing Pieces".  But if you are looking for the track that most resembles the White Stripes, look no further than the rocking second single, "16 Saltines", with its crunchy duelling vintage organ and guitars, stomping beat and infectious chorus.  The biting lyrics of "Freedom At 21" are boosted by a shuffling beat and a standout scorching guitar solo.  The first single released, "Love Interruption" is an upbeat country and western duet with Nashville singer-songwriter Ruby Amanfu, who holds her own with a Dolly Parton-like vocal inflection.  The title track, "Blunderbuss" stands out with more country music instrumentation and expert pedal steel by legendary Nashville multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin.  "Hypocritical Kiss" is led by a rollicking piano lick and backed up by insistent acoustic guitar and Jack's distinct vocal phrasing.  Another standout track, "Weep Themselves To Sleep" is another arena-sized piano-led anthem.  "I'm Shakin'" lives up to it's title with a hip-shakin' blues boogie and female doo-wop background vocals.  "Trash Tongue Talker" is a bold acoustic blues shuffle with some razor-sharp lyrics.  Another standout is the jaunty and old-timey saloon-tune "I Guess I Should Go To Sleep".  And the album closes out with the chugging county/rock revival "Take Me With You When You Go" which features rafters-reaching group vocals from Ruby Amanfu, Laura Matula and his ex-wife Karen Elson. 
Stepping out on his own, while revealing a little more of the myth that is "Jack White" on his first album released under his own name can be deemed a success because Blunderbuss should be at the top of every critic and fan's album of the year lists this year. 

For more info: http://jackwhiteiii.com/ and http://www.thirdmanrecords.com/


Anonymous Sam Page said...

Nice review. I really dig this album, especially its lack of electronica. Any time you hear a noise, you know what instrument is making it.

1:38 PM  

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