Jack White has always been his own man. With The White Stripes, he cultivated a strong persona - turning blues guitar on its side and reworking what would normally be tired rehashed riffs and making them into something new and shiny for impressionable young ears.
His first two solo albums, Blunderbuss and Lazaretto continued this tradition, giving the millennials a fresh taste of a sound that’s been around for 3/4 of a century on the banks of the Mississippi.
So why, after all this tireless selling of the Jack White brand, does his new album sound so much like Beck? This isn’t necessarily a complaint, because now that Beck no longer sounds like himself, there would appear to be a job opening.
Ok, it’s not quite the same thing, but after listening to White’s latest album Boarding House Reach, it’s very evident that he’s in a funky kind of mood and, for the first time, possibly ever -it sounds like he’s having fun.
First single “Connected By Love” opens the album. When that was the only song we knew, many of us could be overheard saying. “Interesting. It’s a bit of a departure”. Little did we know that song would turn out to be the mere gateway to a world we didn’t quite expect. Like going through the turnstiles and entering a amusement park full of some wacky, crazy shit.
"Why Walk A Dog?" takes us a little deeper into the midway. Familiar, but the faces and sounds start to take a turn for the surreal. A synth-driven gospel stomp of a tune that is bound to be a live highlight on White’s upcoming tour.
“Corporation” and “Get In The Mind Shaft” don’t fuck around. Essentially instrumental pieces, these ass-shaking grooves would sound right at home on an (as previously mentioned) Beck album or on The Beastie Boys’ Mix-Up.
The park tour continues through tracks like "Ice Station Zebr"a and "Over and Over and Over"- the latter of which is a guitar-stomp rollercoaster that throws you for a loop as soon as you think you’ve got it figured out. Rounding out the album is the soft, whimsical Humoresque - a come-down coda that eases us back into the real world.
Like all great amusement parks, some rides are better than others and Boarding House Reach is no exception. But once the park closes, you’ll always go home glad that you bought the ticket.
7.9 / 10
Posted April 9, 2014, 9:02 p.m.
Jack White has announced a headlining summer tour in support of his upcoming solo disc, Lazaretto. The LP is set for release on June 10 on Third Man Records/Columbia ...
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