One of the most engaging elements of The Raconteurs’ 2006 release Broken Boy Soldiers is Jack White’s ability to slip out of the spotlight and into the shadows of his bandmates on this very solid album. But one spin of the band’s sophomore effort, Consolers of the Lonely, reveals that the difference between a solid album and a great one is a bolt of White lightening.
Emerging with his trademark wisp during the riff-heavy title-track, White’s brawny guitar tone and rapid fire delivery honed in the White Stripes spills like whisky over crystalline ice, a vibrant burn, a fast melt. Consolers of the Lonely plays out with ‘70s rock bravado; “Old Enough” is a hum-along groove diced by edged fiddle, the blues-infused “Top Yourself” swings with silver slide above an undercurrent of banjo, and the multi-segmented “Rich Kid Blues” – a mere three-and-a-half minutes long – recalls Yes in its heyday, plodding gracefully with organ vamps and a true classic rock delivery from White.
Broken Boy Soldiers stands as a respectable “band” album, Jack White allowing Brendan Benson to stand in the forefront, boasting a rocking song-set rife with hooks and pop sensibility. Consolers of the Lonely maintains that band feel, but it’s the refreshing flex of rock -and-roll muscle that sets it apart, fueled by the expansion of White’s presence, his talents flourishing with full band backing. Consolers of the Lonely further proves that The Raconteurs isn’t simply a side-project. This is the real deal.
Consolers of the Lonely is out now on Warner Brothers Records.