Jack White | Blunderbuss
Poor old Jack White. A cursory listen to brand new solo album Blunderbuss would suggest that he hasn’t been having a very good time lately in the romance department. Recently divorced from partner of six years, Karen Elston and no longer gracing stages with sister/ex wife Meg White (depending on which tabloid you’ve been reading), it’s understandable that he may be feeling a tad miffed with the fairer sex.
However, if it’s a string of soppy breakup ballads you’re expecting, think again, as Blunderbuss bashes us about the head with love in its most destructive, inequitable form. “I want love to roll me over slowly / stick a knife inside me / and twist it all around” he sneers on Love Interruption, clearly still smarting from the breakup.
All of this should be taken with a pinch of salt though, as the erstwhile White Stripe, occasional Raconteur and country duet aficionado is well known for flinging around a bit of artistic license in the name of blues “authenticity”. “I’m Bo Diddly” he boasts on the rockabilly I’m Shakin’ – tongue stuck firmly in cheek to make sure no one takes him too seriously. It’s also worth noting that Elston sings backup on a couple of the tracks, so I suspect things aren’t all that bad for our Jack.
Musically, Blunderbuss will slide in perfectly between The White Stripes’ DIY garage blues and the Raconteurs’ indie swagger on your record shelf – White’s caterwauling screech powering along tracks like Missing Pieces and the most White-Stripesy track on the album Sixteen Saltines. By track four though he really hits his stride, with Love Interruption, Blunderbuss and Hypocritical Kiss providing a glorious suite of country blues, all washed in sweeping Nashville piano and pared down acoustic guitar.
While no great departure from the kind of music we’ve all come to expect from this inimitable musician, Blunderbuss succeeds in being a fantastically inventive ode to broken-hearted blues for those who just don’t do soppy.