The Raconteurs “Broken Boy Soldiers”
Jack White has taken a few steps from the consistently raw, garage-rock sound of The White Stripes with the album “Broken Boy Soldiers” with his new band The Raconteurs, a super group that includes singer/ songwriter Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence, and Patrick Keeler of The Greenhornes.
On this first album shared with a co-songwriter, White exposes a side of his music never heard with The White Stripes. The collaboration with Benson draws influences from several genres, bringing to mind sounds of Abbey Road-era Beatles (listen to the intro of “Level,” and try to say that’s not a George Martin sound), along with the electronic landscapes of the late 1980s. On the emotionally evocative “Together,” there’s a definite retro vibe with short, dreamy keyboard breaks after the chorus.
The Raconteurs shy away from the heavy, ultra-loud sound of The White Stripes somewhat, producing a much more accessible one that sometimes enters the realm of pop. “Steady, As She Goes,” the first song written by White and Benson, is the opening track and may be the strongest. It sounds like a slight twist on The White Stripes’ pounding rock, but a bit catchier. “Intimate Secretary” sounds like it could be on “Get Behind Me Satan,” with a distinctive White Stripes sound, equipped with the repetitive guitar rhythms and quiet breaks between verses.
Benson brings a sophisticated, lyrical quality with songs that sound like poetry: “You want everything to be just like the stories that you read but never write.”
The last track on “Broken Boy Soldier” is “Blue Veins,” a bluesy song with White crying his heart out.
The album is nice and concise, and will probably stay in your head for some time after listening. It’s hard to put down; the album begs for a second, third, fourth and fifth listen. The songs on The Raconteurs’ new CD are fun and memorable, and a good step forward for Jack White and the new rock comeback movement.