Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Raconteurs - Consolers Of The Lonely

Jack White's side project otherwise known as The Raconteurs released their second album without any promotion a mere 3 weeks after it was done being recorded and mixed. This move by the band was highly unprecedented considering the stature of White and the band as a whole. Basically, the band wanted to get the music into the fans' hands before critics had a chance to dissect least that's what they said. You got to give them some credit for trying to shake up the norm. Clearly the norm needs to be changed in the music biz because the normal patterns haven't been working as well. While not every major band can pull off this type of ploy it's not surprising that Jack White wanted to do something like this. I'm sure the higher-ups at Warner Bros. Music weren't thrilled even if he was saving them a large chunk of change by not throwing money at advertising and promotion. So, did the ploy (gimmick?) work? Personally, I think it's been a mixed bag. I had no clue the album was released until a couple weeks after it came out. But there definitely was a bit of buzz when the album kind of appeared out of nowhere. No fanfare. No radio spots. No posters. No strategic placement in TV shows or movies. Just:'s a new album.

I didn't take The Raconteurs seriously when their first album came out because I figured it was just Jack White needing another outlet to write/make music that somehow wasn't getting out with The White Stripes. I guess sometimes a band becomes so known for one thing or comfortable with that sound they can't sufficiently explore new territory. There is no doubt that White is a prolific songwriter with a ton of ability and inspiration considering the amount of music he's turned out in the past number of years. Consolers of the Lonely is a different story. While it still has White's signature guitar sound that's like a worn-in rusty guitar that has such a crunchy, raw sound. It's a feeling like ripping duct tape off someone's face. I'm not sure that makes sense but it just feels like what rock guitar should sound like. This album has some really really good rock songs and some country-twanged numbers that were probably influenced by recording at White's studio in Nashville, TN. Overall, this album is quite good. It has a clearer identity than its predecessor which is enjoyable. It doesn't feel like the expanded White Stripes. It finally feels like it's own entity. While the sound is similar the spirit is more definitive. After the initial release this album feels like they figured out what they wanted to achieve and were free to just go with their ideas to make an occasionally rousing follow-up.


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