Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#686 in the Series) is Jack White, Blunderbuss
Jack White just may be the hardest working man in show business. Barely one year removed from the breakup of his two piece fuzz rock band The White Stripes, he has somehow found time between gigs with his two part-time bands, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather, the latter side project featuring the sexy bombshell Allison Mosshart, to single handedly put the Rock back in Rock & Roll, give hope to the hopeless, and create a work that should be very near the top of every major album of the year music list for 2012 with his new release Blunderbuss.
With his record company celebrating a ten year anniversary in 2012 coming into its own with a stable of fine eclectic artists that range from model and some-time love interest Karen Elson, to the left of center folk-blues act The Smoke Fairies, to the iconic musical rock stallions Tom Jones and Jerry Lee Lewis, the hits just keep on coming. Combine these wonderful artists with the “why didn’t anyone think of this before” idea of having a rolling record store cruise into town to sell his wares and you have a hipster marketing and musical genius.
At its core sonically Blunderbuss is an amalgamation of all of Jack White’s current bands, which in turn are heavily blues-centric outfits that much like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin have been touched by the devils mojo hand of Robert Johnson.
Interestingly enough, if White is making an effort to leave the past behind, he has made an interesting choice with the first two tracks on the album “Missing Pieces” and “Sixteen Candles” about as White Stripes sounding as you can get without having your wife, sister, girlfriend (choose one) on drums. Both songs feature blistering guitars and wailing vocals that make you feel alive when enjoyed on the Spinal Tap setting of 11.
On “ Freedom at 21” Jack reaches up to the high vocal registers, changes the tempo to warp speed, the band cranks up a drum solo that would make would make Buddy Rich blush, and the sum of the parts turns into a Ramones style romp, delicious.
“Love Interruption” was the first video released for the album and was one of the songs along with “Sixteen Saltines” that was performed on the David Letterman show switching from an all-male band to his all-female band between song sets.
On the title track “Blunderbuss” Jack dons his Stetson hat and goes country with a wonderful lap steel along with country crooning vocals and a certain savoir faire I didn’t think he was capable of emoting. Boy, was I wrong. “Hypocritical Kiss” maintains the same more acoustic vibe this time trading in the lap-steel for a piano with beautiful chord progressions courtesy of Brooke Waggoner.
The best guitar solo comes in “Weep Themselves to Sleep” with an anthem of an introduction, snarling greasy vocals and more beautiful piano it may be the best song on the album. The inner Mick Jagger is channeled on The Stonesy “Trash Tongue Talker complete with Nicky Hopkins style piano bashing that could be on a Drive-By-Truckers or Kings of Leon Single.
If the album lacks for anything it could be a sense of focus. While it is not quite in full experimentation mode he does seem to be channeling his various side projects on this record including his excellent turn on the recent most-excellent Rome L.P. By Danger Mouse where he contributed the spaghetti Western inspired “The Rose with the Broken Neck” to the proceedings.
That being said, the different textures, vocal styles, and instrumentation particularly on the stunning divorced inspired closer “Take Me With You When You go” that sounds like Elton John- Meets T Rex- Meets Led Zeppelin, are nothing short of stunning, as is the entire album.
Blunderbuss is pure revisionist 1970-1975 pleasure seeking Rock & Roll brewed to perfection.
Move over Black Keys……..There’s a new sheriff in town.
- Missing Pieces
- Sixteen Saltines
- Freedom at 21
- Love Interruption
- Hypocritical Kiss
- Weep Themselves to Sleep
- I’m Shakin’
- Trash Tongue Talker
- Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy
- I Guess I Should Go to Sleep
- On and On and On
- Take Me with You When You Go
- Jack White – writing, recording, producing.