The Raconteurs: Pure Rock 'n' roll
Jack is Back with his post-White Stripes band to release "Help Us Stranger", a pure, feisty rock 'n' roll record.
It’s hard to believe that 11 years have gone by since the release of Consolers of the Lonely, the latest studio album of this band of four from Detroit which won a Grammy award for its outstanding production. Meanwhile, The Raconteurs have released four live albums but since then have stayed pretty quiet, suggesting that they may have separated. But to the delight of rock ’n’ roll and dirty riff fans, power duo Jack White and Brendan Benson are back with Help Us Stranger, bolstered by Vance Powell’s production skills.
Their long absence was due to the many projects of the ex-White Stripes member Jack White, who founded his own label (Third Man Records), formed another band (the Dead Weather), then began his own solo career (his latest album, Boarding House Reach was released in 2018).
Now in 2019, the Raconteurs have released an explosive album that is a vibrant tribute to garage rock and music from from the late 60’s, whose sound is rough around the edges. When it came to preparing the album, Benson admits there was “Not much discussion, not much planning – as is often the case with the Raconteurs”.
This feisty, almost teenage attitude is particularly apparent in Don’t Bother Me, whose jerky rhythms are reminiscent of Motörhead’s first eponymous album, as well as some of the songs from Beck-Ola by Jeff Beck. The music speaks for itself: the importance of the guitars as well as the huge emphasis on the rhythm section (Jack Lawrence on bass, Patrick Keeler on drums) recaptures the “heavy” aesthetic of British blues-rock from a time when it was not yet heavy metal. Jack White explains why this was intentional, “We’re at a point in time where it seems like there’s not that many rock & roll bands out there. For us, that felt like an invitation: Why don’t we make a rock & roll record that we would want to hear right now?”.
The gamble has certainly paid off. This 100% rock ’n’ roll album Help Us Stranger remains unpretentious and simple. A strong comeback that was long overdue.
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