The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely (Warner Brothers, 2008)
The second disc by this supergroup involving Jack White of the White Stripes, Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence of The Greenhorns and Detroit singer/songwriter Brendan Benson, is an altogether more interesting and enjoyable album than their scattershot debut Broken Boy Soldiers. Where that album felt like it was thrown together in haste, this one sounds well thought out, the band members sound like they are having fun, and the feeling is infectious to the listener. The group shoots out of the gate with confidence on the openers "Consoler of the Lonely" and "State Your Solution." Many commentators have noted that the band is thoroughly rooted in 70's rock, and while this may be true they are not afraid to play with the conventions of the genre, like in the ironic "Rich Kid's Blues" or the thoughtful "Top Yourself." Also, horns and violin pop up throughout the album, padding the sound, but they are tastefully arranged and never detract from their basic rock 'n' roll sound and the songwriting is solid throughout. The album ends with "Carolina Drama," an odd southern Gothic tale of sin and redemption, in other words, perfect Jack White territory. This is a positive step forward for a very talented band. While it seems that White is really dominating the music found here, that is not necessarily a bad thing, since he has the drive and vision to make it successful. Where the previous album lacked such cohesion, this time they sound like a real group and the improvement is noticeable. All in all, a pleasing album, sure to be appreciated by rock 'n' roll partisans.
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