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The Raconteurs

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    The Raconteurs

    broken boy soldiers consolers of the lonely

    Broken Boy Soldiers 7 ( 2006 )
    Steady, As She Goes / Hands / Broken Boy Soldier / Intimate Secretary / Together / Level / Store Bought Bones / Yellow Sun / Call It A Day / Blue Veins

    Even though Led Zeppelin have long since bitten the dust due to ageing and death, Jack White continues to audition to join Led Zeppelin. This occurs principally during the title track, which sounds as if itís straight off a recent Robert Plant LP. Easy and undemanding, The Raconteurs have produced an album that sounds exactly like a debut LP by a modern alternative rock group. Therefore, itís also safe for you to assume that it lacks surprises, that itís relatively commercial and also a slightly polished proposition. Itís a shame that Brendan Benson gets a few lead vocals, because we all wanted to hear Jack White wailing, shrieking, and due to the miracle of modern production techniques, sound like heís singing in a bathroom. Marrying the very different approaches of Brendan and Jack was never going to meld perfectly and this is indeed the case across the LP. Jack brings a raw edge to Brendanís tunes, Brendan brings a mellowness to Jackís tunes yet the result is neither this or that. Thatís not to say there arenít a few cracking tunes on the LP, though. One of them is definitely the title track, I actually like the Jack White blues stylings. Musically, itís a driving, edgy rock tune and the wailing and soaring vocals certainly give the tune a certain something. Switching back to the start of the LP, the opening tune and lead single ĎSteady As She Goesí actually melds Jack and Brendan to good effect, a tune to be an anthem and although itís decent enough, not a particularly memorable anthem. Of other primarily Jack White led tunes, ĎStore Bought Bonesí has one particular failing, itís too short. Jack White provides a brief yet memorable solo. It brings to mind the possible joy if The Raconteurs had gone the full seventies hog, including pomposity and six minute solos. Bring it on, Jack White and co!

    Elsewhere? Weíve always an elsewhere in a lot of my simple little revews. Iím not overly impressed by the Brendan Benson sung tunes, although ĎHandsí at least has some level of allure. Otherwise, tunes such as ĎTogetherí seem prettily inconsequential and fly past without really registering. Far more enjoyable, including a brief psychedelic moment aka Cream, is the measured, spooked blues of the closer ĎBlue Veinsí, a song clearly in the same ball-park more or less as recent White Stripes material. So, is the album quite good then? Well, half of it is good, half is pretty mediocre. It shows enough signs if this were a full-time project that the grouping has plenty of potential, although Iíve yet to be convinced that the two differing styles can ever be truly melded together into something exciting and new.

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    Readers Comments

    Joost Amsterdam
    I agree on most points with your review, (a taste in singing voice is a personal thing), but i think that qua song structure and melody: the second track(hands) benson penned by the way, easily the best thing is on this album, It's better than any big star track on there recent comeback album which i think is hugely overrated but that's another story.... Ps i enjoy your site a lot keep up the good work

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    Consolers Of The Lonely( 2008 )
    Consoler of the Lonely / Salute Your Solution / You Don't Understand Me / Old Enough / The Switch and the Spur / Hold Up / Top Yourself / Many Shades of Black / Five on the Five / Attention / Pull This Blanket Off / Rich Kid Blues / These Stones Will Shout / Carolina Drama

    I can ignore the lyrics here completely, you know? The Ranconteurs don't write great lyrics, but the music is often wonderful. 'Rich Kid Blues' sounds like how you would imagine a Led Zeppelin song to sound like in 2008. Well, you wouldn't expect anything other than guitars, bass, drums and a wailing rock vocal, would you? With the addition of a tasteful and very effective organ part? That's what we have. 'Consolers Of The Lonely' still sees Jack and Brendan trying to come together and they still haven't quite managed it, yet you've got to agree they are getting there. It's not always easy to tell the two apart and the worst moments that appear on record are the tunes that sound too much like one or the other. 'Five On The Five' has the kind of vocal that makes the singer sound like a girl, in a good way, mind you. The drums don't escape either White Stripes apeing or middle of the road, competent yet dull rock n roll. The bass lines need to be more creative, they simply thud along. Yet, Jack and Brendan do manage to at least create what seems like genuine energy. The song is a little messy, but it'll do for excitement for now. 'The Switch And The Spur' comes across as a White Stripes song in fancy window dressing and such a thing simply won't do at all.

    If the title track was released as a White Stripes single, and bass guitar apart, it sounds just like one - it would be written off as White Stripes treading water. I also don't like the way the songs flow together - when an album in this age of the album as an art form simply dying - sounds better when on random play, you know little thought has gone into track sequencing. Some things still matter to some people, you know? 'You Don't Understand Me' is my personal favourite here, is this one a Brendan song? The piano is nice and lends a different texture to proceedings and the influences suddenly seem different, more Beatles than Led Zeppelin. It's a welcome switch of tone and also demonstrates the potential Raconteurs have. They need to go full-time to reach their full potential, I feel. Jack White - talented as he is, can't possibly take everything so seriously as this. He seems far more relaxed in a White Stripes setting, even though in theory, he gets less musical assistance in that setting. What else? Well, 'Attention' sounds like any old rock band, sadly. Yet, for all the failings of 'Consolers Of The Lonely', it's definitely a step up for The Raconteurs, if woefully short of The White Stripes finest moments. Jack doesn't want us to compare the two? People always will, unless The Raconteurs are far more distinctive than this. Still solid though, still a solid album and a decent band. As Chrissie Hynde once sang ( and she'd sound GREAT duetting with Jack ) 'Don't get me wrong'.

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    this page last updated 26/05/08

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