At this point, someone should just bottle what Jack White’s got because it works. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that what he does, he does well. As a follow up to 2006’s Broken Boy Soldiers, White’s other band, The Raconteurs, have released Consolers of the Lonely, an album that keeps an eye on the path the debut album set forth on, but this time plays around that musically traversed direction they were heading in, resulting in a strong, diverse rock album that takes what Soldiers did and moves it to the next level.Released just weeks after being finished, it’s clear that Consolers of the Lonely wasn’t worse for the rush to stores: the album is a fluid and dynamic set of songs that feel thought through and prepared.
It’s tough not to draw comparisons between White’s work in his other band, The White Stripes, and The Raconteurs. Each band should (and does) stand on its own, but clearly White plays an influential part in both groups. And his musical progression seemingly bleeds from one project to the next. It’s easy to hear the influence of The White Stripes’ last album, Icky Thump, on Consolers. There are blues rock and country references found in most Stripes songs that are played with in the setting of a full band and regurgitated into a new take on old musical traditions, putting the band in the same field as Zeppelin in terms of musical approach. In fact, the final track, ‘Carolina Drama’ could very well have been found on a Led Zeppelin album with its mandolin and country/blues roots shining through musically and lyrically. (Interestingly enough, the final track on Broken Boy Soldiers, ‘Blue Veins,’ would have easily been at home on Physical Graffiti.)And while Consolers of the Lonely is an incredibly diverse album, there seems to be a consistency to it that’s hard to put your finger on.Maybe we’re supposed to get it, maybe not. Either way, the result is an album that is easy to listen to from start to finish. The songwriting team of White and Brendan Benson is tight and pointed, yet each song allows room for almost anthemic rock breakdowns that make it easy to see how each tune could translate to a great live performance.
If you want to get a chance to listen to where radio-friendly rock and roll should be heading, pick up The Raconteurs’ Consolers of the Lonely.The future of rock isn’t with Nickelback or Hinder, rather it’s with The Raconteurs, who, oddly enough, are rooted in the past.