THE RACONTEURS Consolers of the Lonely
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