Friday, June 29, 2018

Jack White - Blunderbuss

As I've said before, I'm not a huge Jack White fan, nor do I have any prejudice against him, but it can take me a while to acquire his products, like this, his first solo album, released in 2012. Recorded by White with session musicians which he directed - rather than band mates who would come up with their own parts - this was truly a solo effort.

That said, being Jack White, it is not wildly different than his work with his bands. His quirky vocal stylings and effect-drenched guitat work is present throughout, as is his somewhat eclectic songwriting. There are some nice variety, such as the Rhodes electric piano on the opening "Missing Pieces", the 70's hard rock-isms of "Sixteen Saltines" (run through White's oddness, of course) and the semi-funk of "Freedom at 21" (which has more than its share of twists'n'turns, as well). He has quieter moments in "Love Interruption", the title track, the piano ballad "Hypocritical Kiss", and "Weep Themselves to Sleep" which, in a weird way, almost sounds like White channeling Tom Jones via an old-time drama with a psychotic guitar solo (although maybe that's just me!).

White goes back to his blues roots for his cover of Little Willie John's incredible "I'm Shakin'" (which the Blasters did fabulously back in the early 80's). He makes it more of a production number, with sweet soul sister backing vocals, that really works. "Trash Tongue Talker" is actually a fairly straight ahead (for White, anyway), 50's-ish, bluesy, piano-driven rocker, "Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy" is piano-pop, "I Guess I Should Go To Sleep" is basically a variation of "Goodnight Irene", "On and On and On" is a bit lightweight although it builds nicely, and he takes rhythmic tips from Dave Brubeck for the closing "Take Me With You When You Go" to which he adds some sweet melodies'n'harmonies and develops into a fairly hyper bit of multi-layered, treated vocal, choral piece.

White's work is always intriguing'n'engaging and his records are always worth checking out, however, I am not always totally enthralled or knocked out by the records in their entirety. Some great moments, some just good, but something to hear, for sure.