Lone stars

THE RACON­TEURS Con­sol­ers of the Lonely

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Musicreviews - TONY CLAY­TON-LEA

XL Jack White con­tin­ues his fas­ci­na­tion with no­tions of Amer­i­cana on this album, which was fin­ished about a month ago and which was rush- re­leased into the shops last week with­out the usual PR push and ad­vance copies for the me­dia.

As a mthod of fo­cus­ing on the mu­sic rather than fran­tic in­dus­try machi­na­tions sur­round­ing a ma­jor re­lease, it’s de­bat­able whether this approach will ac­tu­ally work in The Racon­teurs’ favour. Still, White in par­tic­u­lar seems un­af­fected by such triv­i­al­i­ties as record sales, which is fair enough.

In the movie world, a film re­leased with­out me­dia previews of­ten turns out to be of poor qual­ity. This isn’t the case with Con­sol­ers of the Lonely, which, like the band’s de­but album, Bro­ken Boy Sol­diers, takes its mu­si­cal tem­plate from both Led Zep­pelin and hard blues – al­beit with a few twists and turns into pro­gres­sive rock (The Switch and the Spur).

It’s still stripped down to the bone, mind. White stitches his love of Amer­i­can blues into the fab­ric of con­tem­po­rary rock in pin­point move­ments. Songs such as Many Shades of Black and Th­ese Stones Will Shout ring with au­then­tic­ity and sting­ing mu­si­cian­ship, and the kind of gui­tar so­los (acous­tic and elec­tric) and ar­range­ments you thought had dis­ap­peared with the first Led Zep album.

White’s song­writ­ing part­ner, Bren­dan Ben­son, adds his pop nous to songs such as You Don’t Un­der­stand Me and Pull This Blan­ket Off. And a cover of Rich Kid Blues (writ­ten by Terry Reid, who re­fused over­tures by Jimmy Page to join Led Zep­pelin) car­ries on White’s ap­par­ent com­mit­ment to the Zep cause.

If it all wasn’t car­ried off with such an air of supreme, slen­der ef­fort­less­ness, Con­sol­ers of the Lonely would be a record in search of its own iden­tity. But it’s clear The Racon­teurs are a band not so much driven by rock star ego as by rock mu­sic his­tory. Would that other mu­sic acts be so honourable. www.the racon­teurs.com Down­load tracks: You Don’t Un­der­stand Me, The Switch and the Spur, Th­ese Stones Will Shout, Many Shades of Black

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