Thursday, June 15, 2006

Album Review - The Raconteurs

Artist – The Raconteurs
Album – Broken Boy Soldiers

Everybody knows the story, and if you don’t then feel lucky as I am not going to bother explaining it. The only band to get as much publicity in the last two months as the Red Hot Chili Peppers is Jack White’s new band (he refuses to call it a side project) The Raconteurs. The story of how they evolved is on par with the evolution of Pearl Jam, The Strokes, and Angels And Airwaves, so I will spare you the history lesson. Let’s get right to the music with the opening track (and first single) off their new record Broken Boy Soldiers, “Steady As She Goes”. Ever heard a White Stripes song? Good, moving on.

In all fairness, The Raconteurs are far more listenable than The White Stripes. Anybody who was turned off by White’s unevenness and sporadic hit or miss with the Stripes will be a little relieved with this record. “Hands” is pretty straight forward, reminiscent of early Tom Petty, and the title track sounds like the b-side to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”. The vocals seem to be in the same style as the Stripes, but they are shared and spread out, so it’s probably just the production. I still refuse to believe that Jack White sings like a ghost with throat cancer, its got to be the mic's (right?).

The album as a whole stands up on its own even when not taken in the context of The White Stripes. The production feels aged and unpolished, and has a sort of live feel to it. Slower tracks like “Together” and “Call It A Day” give a little bit of a Beatles feel to it, while “Yellow Sun” is straight out fun to listen to. If asked to choose one over the other, I would take The Raconteurs over The White Stripes eight days a week, but they need to grow out of the Stripes mold. While it is understandable to have that kind of feel to it with the first record, their next one should take on a feel of its own, or else they will continue to be seen as a Jack White side project, whether he likes it or not.

7 out of 10

If you like this record, try:

The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones
Cake – Fashion Nugget

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