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Consolers of the Lonely

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iTunes Review

The Raconteurs’ second album reflects the group’s paradoxical interests in rough-cut rockers and their thoughtful appraisal of rock music’s storied history. This is, after all, a collaboration between the harsh modern blues of White Stripes’ Jack White and power-pop songwriter Brendan Benson. There’s studio chatter and feedback, tough shards of power chord guitars, and lots of sass balanced out with well-produced stereophonic guitars, tinkering keyboards, and layers of carefully leveled harmony vocals. The title track is deliberately half-baked, an unfinished riff reveling in its rawness, but “You Don’t Understand Me” is a heartfelt piano shuffle. “The Switch and the Spur” reflects a soft psychedelic twist with horns, quickly followed up with the early-‘70s guitar wah-wah and schoolyard chant of “Hold Up.” Slide-blues highlights “Top Yourself,” another ‘70s-influenced tune that along with the refried boogie of “Attention” and organ-driven Southern rock of “Rich Kid Blues” wouldn’t be out of place on a Black Crowes album, while “Five On the Five” goes for the trademark White Stripes garage-rock crunch.

Customer Reviews

Simply one of the best albums of 2008 and new directions for the Racs

First of all, forget whatever you thought you knew about The Raconteurs. This album would be hard-pressed to be much more different from "Broken Boy Soldiers," their 2006 debut. From Jack's first searing guitar notes of the title track, which opens the album, through the quirky Dylan-esque "Carolina Drama" that closes it, this album shows that the Racs did not just drive up to the stop light and then continue on after the light changed. They hung a right and buried the gas. What's different from "Broken Boy Soldiers"? The energy level is higher, for one thing. While there is a mix of different paced songs on the album, overall they've taken the energy to a new level. The first album had a "sound" that extended throughout the entire album; this does not. It's also not as polished an album as their first (and that's a good thing, not a bad thing - nor is it a criticism of "Broken Boy Soldiers"). While Brendan's pop-meister sensibilities and skills are evident (their cover of Terry Reid's "Rich Kid Blues" is a good example), they are not as pronounced as on "Broken Boy Soldiers". There are some rough edges to the sound that add to the energy and a dark edginess that lurks in the background ("Top Yourself" is an excellent example). Some of their influences, such as country, are more obvious (Dirk Powell's fiddling is lovely). And Jack III's love of the blues is much more evident. The use of the Memphis Horns on some tracks raised my eyebrows until I heard them; the use is sparing and fits beautifully (I can't begin to count how many rock songs have been ruined by the addition of horns - Jackie Bollweevil and Brendan Boy knew exactly what they were doing here). And some of Jack's slide work will positively make your skin crawl! It's premature for me to add any detailed commentary on the individual songs (I've only given the album three careful [translate: headphones] listens, although it's been playing constantly since I got it), but "Carolina Drama" is definitely my fave so far - it's killer good. Side note: "Five On The Five" has evolved considerably since it was played in concerts on the 2006 tour. What I can say is, even though it's only March, this is easily one of the best albums of 2008, and it's going to be very heavily played at this house for a long time to come. My advice is to buy this album, put it in your car stereo, turn it up all the way, and drive around town with all the windows down (even if it's snowing, and definitely in the rain) - that is what rock `n' roll was intended for, and this is most definitely rock `n' roll of the first order. While this album is very different from "Broken Boy Soldiers", it is absolutely outstanding in every way. This is grand stuff, indeed. So much for the sophomore album jinx. The Racs are back, Pickin' up the slack.


Formed: 2005 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A self-described "new band made up of old friends," the Raconteurs feature the White Stripes' Jack White and power pop maestro Brendan Benson on vocals, keyboards, and guitars, and the Greenhornes' drummer Patrick Keeler and bassist Jack Lawrence as the group's rhythm section. The idea for the band began when Benson and White collaborated on the song "Steady, as She Goes," which later became the Raconteurs' debut single. When the duo drafted Keeler and Lawrence, they became a full-fledged band. Recording...
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