In the past decade, Jack White has played in three very distinctively different bands. First there was the blues based garage band The White Stripes with a very strict rule of only recording songs the two could play live (meaning rarely more than two instruments per song) and were so strict they even kept their clothing limited to red, black, and white. Then came The Raconteurs a power-pop rock band. The last band he formed was the creepy alternative rock group The Dead Weather with Jack on drums. Then last year White announced he was not going to form any more bands, oh yeah, and he announced his first big band The White Stripes was essentially dead.
So what is next for the guy who recorded ten albums with three bands over the span of twelve years who does not want to start anymore bands? A solo album naturally. And with three distinctly sounding bands what exactly does a Jack White solo album sound like? Well it sound a lot like what The White Stripes may have sounded like had they not put restrictions on their recording and brought more musicians and singers into the studio with them.
Blunderbuss is right out of the blues rock playbook but right away in the opening track Missing Pieces you hear organs that would have never fit into a White Stripes album. Those missing his breakout band will want to go straight to Sixteen Saltines, a riff heavy song reminiscent of some of the former band’s most famous.
But further into the album, the less and less it starts sounding like a White Stripes album and other Jack White influences. He goes down to the delta and recruits a sultry R&B singer to duet with on Love Interruption. And all the time he has spent in Nashville shows through with a few fiddles and mandolins while the Little Willie Brown cover I’m Shakin’ sounds like it could have been recorded in Sun Studios. here is a heavy classical piano into on Hypocritical Kiss which is a bit jarring coming from the guy. There is actually a lot of piano in the second half of the album. Then the album ends with White’s weirdest musical trip yet Take Me With You When You Go, which starts out as swinging sixties song that kicks into a frantic high gear in the second half.
Even though it is more diverse, Blunderbuss is similar to a White Stripes album in that although the songs are really good, they start to wear on you if you listen to the album straight through and Blunderbuss is much better heard on shuffle in the middle of the rest of your music library.
Song to Download – Sixteen Saltines
Blunderbuss gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.