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The Raconteurs: Consolers of the Lonely (Album Review)

This follow-up to 2006’s Broken Boy Soldiers was rush-released to avoid reviewers’ “preconceptions”, and a pointed cover of Terry Reid’s Rich Kid Blues seems to sum up Jack White’s grumbling at any notion that the Raconteurs might be just a rock star’s plaything. The similarity of the album’s blues barrage to the White Stripes may be another tender nerve. Gradually, however, any deja vu is all but blown away by the dizzying dynamic changes, rapid-fire drum breaks and, contrarily, the textured horn sections and understated richness of the songs. The Raconteurs establish a firm, emotionally charged identity of their own when White finally takes a back seat to Brendan Benson. Benson’s You Don’t Understand Me is a tour de force, with lovely Elton John-esque piano flourishes, while Many Shades of Black – lamenting a stale relationship over an anthemic chorus – is the standout of a flawed but ragged glory.
(Dave Simpson)