The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
Record Label: Third Man Records
Release Date: March 25, 2008
It's March 18th. You're probably sitting there listening to the new Panic at the Disco leak. The thought of any Jack White material is far away from your mind. You go on to the news section of AbsolutePunk.net to find something along the lines of: "Hey guys. The new Raconteurs record is finished. It comes out next Tuesday. Enjoy." Wow. Out of nowhere we are hit with some of the best news of 2008. But did it live up to your oh-so-short hype?
Let's face it: Jack White is a machine. The man spits out hooks and shreds like nobody's business. Whether you love him from his duo rock powerhouse, The White Stripes, or from his full-band project, The Raconteurs, there's no doubting that everything this man touches will eventually turn to gold.
Consolers of the Lonely picks up where Broken Boy Soldiers left off. The title track enters with a pounding drum line and a slamming guitar riff. Brendan Benson (the band's other singer) and White share the vocals in perfect harmony and the track sets the bar high for the rest of the album. The De Stijl-esque "Salute Your Solution" soars through with the potential to be a major hit this summer. The song breaks down in the middle with one of the best anthem lines of '08:
"And I got what I got all despite you
And I get what I get just to spite you"
"You Don't Understand Me" starts off with a jazzy piano line and soon breaks into an infectious chorus with Benson and White bouncing off each other perfectly. The song ends with a crazy piano jam that really brings out the groups diversity in terms of song structure. "Old Enough" has an alternative folk feel to it and is the track that sounds most like Broken Boy Soldiers. "The Switch and the Spur" sounds like the epilogue to Icky Thump's "Conquest," but with a roaring trumpet line. The song has one of the best breakdowns I have ever heard in the middle, bearing the words imprinted on the linear notes of the album:
"Any pour souls who trespass against us
Whether it be beast or man
Will suffer the bite or be stung dead on sight
By those who inhabit this land"
The album does not go without its stumbles though. "Hold Up" has a choleric chant to it that never seems to come together. While the guitar work is stellar, the song itself seems scattered. The campfire-sounding "Top Yourself" is mediocre at best, as the lyrics certainly aren't some of White and Benson's best, but the melody is certainly right on.
The rest of the album has a couple great highlights. The ending to "Five on the Five" has an awesome Green Day vibe to it, and "Carolina Drama" is one of White's best acoustic-tinged tracks to date.
The second half of the record may not stick out as much as the first, but that's forgiven as the first half alone is memorable. Consolers Of The Lonely is easily one of the best of 2008. It is much edgier than Broken Boy Soldiers and has some great lasting value. Do yourself the favor and pick it up today. Blast the first track while driving down the highway; it's great fun.