Jack White – Blunderbuss
Record Label: Third Man Records/XL Recordings
Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Dare I say it, but apparently Jack White has been holding back from us. The excessively over productive musician, who has been churning out music since 1997 with such bands as The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, has recently admitted that he feels that working as part of a band set up is quite restricting. So in the respect, Jack White’s first ever solo album must surely be mind blowing? Well, you’re not half wrong. Jack White sure lets go on this record, and in ways that some of his more casual fans may not be quite expecting.
Blunderbuss is undoubtedly his first fully fledged ode to the blues (with a rock twist thrown in every now and again). First single “Love Interruption” featuring Ruby Amanfu is a call and response story which lyrically goes against the love song grain which a blues album might more traditionally have aimed for. “I want love to roll me over slowly, stick a knife inside me and twist it all around/I want love to grab my fingers gently, slam them in a doorway, put my face into the ground”. The song is a pleasant piano keyed and brass led jingle which is not instantly as likeable as some of his earlier first singles. However, he returns to more recognisable numbers with “Sixteen Saltines” which is the heaviest song on the album, and harks back to the White Stripes more famous tracks such as “Blue Orchid” or even “Seven Nation Army”. The track contains a lot of memorable lines and a chorus which is extremely repeat friendly.
“Freedom at 21” is possibly the best track on the album with its scattery drum beats, guitar chugging and shrill vocal quivers. White even throws in a delectable talking, perhaps even rap style skit mid-song on one of the albums stranger moments. The guitar work on this album falls into two categories; fast strumming or dirty electric, both of which Whites fans will be well used to hearing by now. “I’m Shakin” is one of the more straight-up blues numbers with White tackling a Rudy Toombs cover in his own distinct style. Interestingly, the more this album progresses the more the tracks seem to be more intoned with his early blues interests. It is as if the musical maestro was not quite confident in his fan base “getting” the musical style which he has so dearly relied on throughout his career, and so he decided to slowly integrate them as the work progressed. This album is simultaneously some of the most basic and exciting music Jack White has made in his career, but has he ever really let us down? Certainly not on this blues filled effort.