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Jack White - Blunderbuss

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This is a record that was bound to happen. With the dissolution of indie giants The White Stripes, and the members of Jack White’s other bands finding their focus elsewhere, it wasn’t going to be too long before he became bored sitting behind the producers desk at Third Man Records. Blunderbuss may not be White’s first foray into solo work – he has appeared solo on a few film soundtracks – but it is the first definitive statement he’s made on his own, free of the agendas that come with collaboration.

Jack is backed by a different line up of musicians on nearly every track as he leads you through a gamut of moods. He is wistful and wondrous on On and On and On and the title track; rife with paranoid obsession on Sixteen Saltines; and genuinely funny on the innocent I Guess I Should Go To Sleep. However, despite the changing back line and shifting moods, the album never loses any cohesion and White’s personality acts as a dominant and consistent unifier.

Location has always had a huge impact on White’s sound. Originally from America’s garage rock capital, Detroit, Jack has lived in Nashville, Tennessee for quite a few years now and Blunderbuss is soaked with the kind of goodness only found south of the Mason-Dixon Line. There are obvious allusions to decades gone, such as the ivory key driven, rock n’ roll strut of Trash Tongue Talker, but the influence of the South isn’t always so blunt. Mandolins, fiddles and pedal steels all flourish and decorate the record, never overstaying their welcome, providing an authentic atmosphere to the records folk-leaning tunes, while Love Interruption is elevated above standard country crooning as a Johnny and June style duet. The album’s only cover song, Little Willie John’s I’m Shakin’, is littered with soulful doo-wop vocals but anchored firmly in the present by one of the albums few indulgences in Jack’s trademark pitch shifting guitar histrionics.

If one complaint could be levelled at this record it is that it doesn’t pack the wild electricity of older White records such as White Blood Cells and Consolers of the Lonely. Not to say the album doesn’t make up for it with wonderful set pieces like the Zeppelinesque finale of Take Me With You When You Go or the drawn out piano runs of Weep Themselves to Sleep, but it does sound a mite conservative when compared to the rest of his back catalogue; you find yourself wishing for him to unleash a little more.

This small factor is easily covered by the strength of the overall song writing, which is simple to the ear, yet exceedingly inventive; Jack never seems out of his depth with the albums twists and turns, nor does he sound like he is just rehashing the familiar. A record that can both shake your foundations and lull you gently, Blunderbuss is perfect for previous fans of Jack White’s work and those who are just discovering him.

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justjeans

justjeans said on the 2nd May, 2012

favourite album at the moment, great review.

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 2nd May, 2012

Literally obsessed with this album, so goddamn awesome.

Great review as per usual, BC!

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 2nd May, 2012

Thanks dude.

The record is so good. I'm just as keen to hear these songs live as I am his old stuff.

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 2nd May, 2012

Yeah for sure. Seeing him at Splendour shall be interesting, wondering what will happen in terms of the two different bands and what not. The current setlists are so fantastic though so I couldn't be more keen.

sarcasm_mister

sarcasm_mister said on the 2nd May, 2012

@ Mayan Theatre, LA 30 April

Jack White & The Peacocks

Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
Missing Pieces
Sixteen Saltines
Hotel Yorba
Top Yourself
Love Interruption
Weep Themselves to Sleep
I'm Slowly Turning Into You
Blue Blood Blues (With "Screwdriver" Riff Intro)
Blunderbuss
We're Going to Be Friends
Take Me With You When You Go
Ball and Biscuit

____________

Freedom At 21
My Doorbell
You Know That I Know (Hank Williams cover)
Two Against One
Carolina Drama
Seven Nation Army (With "Suzy Lee" Intro)
Goodnight Irene (Leadbelly cover)

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 2nd May, 2012

Awesome.

I had a dream last night that he cancelled Splendour while I was catching a train to Byron with my brother (who isn't going). Woke up a tad noivess.

sarcasm_mister

sarcasm_mister said on the 2nd May, 2012

NME has a thing going where they're getting people to rank JW's 11 albums. assuming you've heard them all. anyone willing to rank them? i'm not overly familiar with the White Stripes debut and Sea of Cowards so i'll leave them out.

1. Elephant
2. White Blood Cells
3. De Stilj
4. Broken Boy Soliders
5. Blunderbuss
6. Consolers of the Lonely
7. Icky Thump
8. Horehound
9. Get Behind Me Satan

the fact that i really really enjoy Get Behind Me Satan says a lot about this man's output since the turn of the century.

oh and Blunderbuss sold 138 000 copies in its first week and made it to No.1 in the US.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 2nd May, 2012

I dead set couldnt stand icky thump. That album grinding the fuck outta my gears

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 2nd May, 2012

I liked Icky Thump. Catch Hell Blues is rad.

This list is fairly tangible, depending on my mood. I really love them all.

1. White Blood Cells
2. Consolers of the Lonely
3. Elephant
4. Blunderbuss
5. Horehound
6. Broken Boy Soldiers
7. Get Behind Me Satan
8. Icky Thump
9. De Stijl
10. The White Stripes
11. Sea of Cowards


Also Rome is amazing. I'm not sure if that counts though.

kat627

kat627 said on the 3rd May, 2012

i have to admit that i never really got into his previous stuff, definitely not for any logical reason, just one of those artists i seemed to miss along the way. regretting that big time now. this album is amazing! so diverse yet you never once feel that it gets in the way of the flow of the album. awesome review too, you have a nice writing style. can't wait to see him in sydney in july!

sarcasm_mister

sarcasm_mister said on the 7th May, 2012

Blunderbuss sold an incredible 254 000 (approx) copies worldwide in its first week.

oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 7th May, 2012

this record makes me erect.

andy_chalmers_102

andy_chalmers_102 said on the 7th May, 2012

I love every single one of these records. The difference between #1 and #11 is extremely small.

1. White Blood Cells
2. Elephant
3. Blunderbuss
4. Get Behind Me Satan
5. De Stijl
6. Horehound
7. Consolers of the Lonely
8. Icky Thump
9. Broken Boy Soldiers
10. The White Stripes
11. Sea of Cowards

kat627

kat627 said on the 7th May, 2012

that's quite a feat for someone with a mangina!

oldgregg

oldgregg said on the 7th May, 2012

it's closer to a foot.

grattan

grattan said on the 16th Jul, 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypE0ZsijAII

grattan

grattan said on the 31st Oct, 2012

New Jack White 'rap' song

http://soundcloud.com/thirdmanrecords/blues-on-two-trees