Monday, June 05, 2006

The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers (V2, 2006)

This is the highly anticipated "supergroup" collaboration between Jack White of The White Stripes, Detroit pop-rocker Brendan Benson and two members of the Cincinnati garage rock juggernaut The Greenhornes. The resulting album is a very short, somewhat uncomfortable mashup of seventies-style classic rock and Beatle-esque pop music. The album has a bit of a tossed-off feel to it, but does have a few tracks that rise above to become memorable. The single "Steady, As She Goes" starts off the album with an ominous bass riff, before resolving into a song that sounds like the White Stripes with a little extra heft in the bass and drums department.

"Hands" piles on the overdubs into a mass of sound that at best approaches psychedelica, and at worst nears Boston-like 70's AOR sludge. There are some other worthy songs here, "Blue Veins" cuts a grinding, late night bluesy groove, and "Store Bought Bones" recycles 70's rock in an impressive fashion. This might seem like damning criticism, but with this much firepower on hand, the expectations were so high and the media onslaught so steep, that the production of a merely OK album seems a little disappointing.

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