Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jack White - Blunderbuss Album Review

Jack White 
****and1/2 out of *****

The first solo release from Jack White lets us peek into his creative mind more then anything the artist has done previously, this is all Jack.  For someone who shot to fame by being self-imposed restrictive in sound and appearance it is as if White busted totally loose with this album.  There are snippets of sound or instrumentation that just flows in/out at whim; even his singing can attack a song in multiple styles as if he wasn't exactly sure which approach is best.  Their are severed limbs, dead bodies and multiple causalities along the way but within them are blindingly beautiful results.

Lets face it there are aren't any mega rockers more creative out there these days.  One example is on the track "Freedom at 21" which contains 2 separate drum beats rambling side by side, a pitter-patter to falsetto vocal pattern and a now classic White move; blending ripping guitar lines with organ so closely it is tough to tell them apart.  The first single "Love Interruption" finds White at his lyrical best, but the stark instrumentation has a demo feel to it, while the other early release "Sixteen Saltines" is the closest he comes to raw rocking blues.

At first it can be a bit shocking how little guitar is present on the album; piano is the primary instrument White works with here.  He get's very orchestral with it on the title track, groovy on "Trash Tongue Talker", cinematicly anthemic on "Weep Themselves To Sleep"  and lush on "Hypocritical Kiss" which is one of the smoothest tracks White has produced under any band name while containing his fiercest lyrics of his brilliant career.

He glorious takes on a 50's style of rockabilly with "I'm Shakin'" which is a primal pleasure, "Hip Eponymous Poor Boy" has a barroom jingle to it while "On and On and On" eerily blends a light Beatles vibe with something dark lurking just behind the scenes.  The one lone misstep is the disk closer, "Take Me With You When You Go" which shoots for climactic but ends up sounding jumbled, as if three song ideas where slammed into each other for the benefit of none.      

This is a personal, complex work that will unfold over time and takes some digging into, never more has he been connected to his spiritual father Bob Dylan then on Blunderbuss.  White is already a superstar and loves to bounce from project to project, so another solo disk may be some time down the road, but Blunderbuss only adds to his legend as the rock and roller of our 21st century.  

I have a total man crush on Jack White, but who doesn't...the dude can do it all and Blunderbuss is just more example of his greatness in the songwriting, recording and performing arenas.   Now that this is out of his system though how about a Raconteurs Reunion?!?  One can only hope. 

Grab the album here and click the videos below for preview clips.

"Love Interruption"

"Trash Tongue Talker"

"Sixteen Saltines"

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