Friday, 13 June 2014

Jack White - Lazaretto (2014)

Jack White, High Ball Stepper

Info: The White Stripes, Raconteurs and Dead Weather man is back with his second solo album this week, Lazaretto is the follow-up to 2012's marvellous Blunderbuss. The album is possibly one of the most anticipated of the year to date, thanks in the main to Jack White's reputation as one of the few iconic blues rock musicians on the music scene at present, as evidenced by his inclusion in Rolling Stones '100 Greatest Guitarists' back in 2011.

So, how does the new album fare in comparison to Blunderbuss? One of the most striking things about Lazaretto is that there is definitely far more emphasis on roots / country, in particular on 'Alone In My Home', 'Entitlement' and the third track 'Temporary Ground' with it's fiddle intro. In many ways this is a good thing, White avoids merely releasing a 'Mark II' album which his mortal enemies, The Black Keys, seem to have done with their recent release Turn Blue

Personally, I enjoy his music most when he's thrashing a guitar and playing ear-bleeding riffs, which is probably best exemplified on his work in The Dead Weather (outside of The White Stripes) and the first few tracks on Blunderbuss, the closest we really get to that style is on the two singles, the powerfully hypnotic 'High Ball Stepper' (above) and title track 'Lazaretto'. All in all Lazaretto is a fine album, not as much to my taste as his first release, but to be perfectly honest, and my judgement is undoubtedly clouded as a big Jack White fan, such is his talent for song-writing I would listen to anything he records. All I need now is for the limited edition LP pack to arrive from his label, Third Man Records, and I can fully appreciate it before going to see him play The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham at the end of the month, and yes, I will be bringing a bag of knickers. 

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Note: If you have the time, the below video is well worth a watch, Jack discusses some seriously weird, unique features of the Lazaretto Ultra LP, including a floating hologram while the record spins.

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