The Raconteurs: Consolers of the Lonely


When Broken Boy Soldiers was released, the hype surrounding Jack White’s first venture into a side project was massive, yet there has been almost no advance hype surrounding Consolers of the Lonely, the Raconteurs’ second release (sent to Press and Public at the same time and day) and I am sure they couldn’t be happier with the silence.  Let’s be clear about one thing early: This is a full band with a full album that gallops the gamut of styles – and they succeed on all levels. 

Commencing their onslaught in the metallic vein, with screeching lyrics and heavy blasts, the opening title track and it’s follow up “Salute Your Solution” rips apart any listener’s doubts about a sophomore slump.  “Old Enough” brings the tempo down and illustrates two song writers (Brendan Benson and Jack White) at the peak of their powers; while the low end is full of piss and vinegar with Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keller thundering on “Hold Up” and “Five on Five”.  Other familiar elements, like ass shaking electric blues (“Top Yourself”) White doing his full on Bob Dylan (“Carolina Drama”) and country twang (“Pull This Blanket Off”) are familiar stomping grounds for this group of friends, but what ends up truly surprising and pushing this album over the edge are the anthemic rock tunes found here.

 “Rich Kid Blues” combines all of the themes showcased so far and then turns them up to 11 via The Who, screeching guitars and vocals a la Townshend and Daltrey, while using organ fills and acoustic guitar to paint the scene, a standout.  The Queen inspired “Many Shades of Black” and the intense “The Switch and the Spur” which incorporates The Memphis Horns, almost Sermon on the Mount lyrics and a piano line straight off of Broadway, leading to a huge theatrical ending….pretty fricking far from garage rock minimalism. 

Nothing here disappoints. The 14 tracks on Consolers of the Lonely capitalize on the live success the Racs showed as a touring band and offers a bright future for however long these troubadours continue to rock.

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