Boomkat Product Review:
If you've taken your eye off the internet for a week or so you may well be surprised to find this Raconteurs album even exists. Presumably as a measure against the album leaking several months in advance of an official release (as seems to be the norm nowadays) the band went and gave one week's notice on the street date of their new album, 'Consolers Of The Lonely'. So, now the record's with us, has it suffered from only having a seven-day period to pile on the hype? Given that in certain quarters it seems to have been the principal subject of discussion over the entirety of Easter, you'd have to conclude that the album is probably enjoying a higher profile than it would have under normal circumstances. On its own terms 'Consolers Of The Lonely' is a highly competent, if occasionally slightly ordinary sounding vintage stadium rock outing. Stripped of the idiosyncratic dynamism of his White Stripes setup, Jack White's songwriting - and even his exceptional guitar playing - conveys as slightly neutered. You get the sense that he's at his best when he's the only set of strings in town, but in The Raconteurs he's content to share the limelight, most notably with fellow songwriter Brendan Benson. Between the two frontmen there's an encyclopedic knowledge of classic rock, with shades of the Rolling Stones, Led Zep and The Who creeping into the album throughout, occasionally in an excessively explicit fashion: 'Rich Kid Blues' could have been lifted straight off Pete Townsend's fretboard, while 'Pull This Blanket Off' is like a prime Richards & Jagger composition from the seventies, all of which suggests these guys are having too good a time to be concerned with being especially original. That said, you'll find plenty of noteworthy riffs here: 'Five On The Five' for example is a peculiar meeting of trad rock values and a more punky sound, while first single 'Salute Your Solution' features some pretty spectacular musicianship, notably an awe-inspiring guitar solo (if you dig that sort of thing), only for the tone to change dramatically on 'You Don't Understand Me', which sets out sounding curiously like Tori Amos' 'Cornflake Girl', before kicking off into a mighty trad rock chorus. Consolers Of The Lonely could well be a grower, but given that it didn't exist in any shape or form until about 37 minutes ago, it's somewhat too early to draw any conclusions to that effect. Early indications suggest that The Raconteurs are on solid form here, lovingly reproducing and twisting classic sounds with a level of authenticity most rock bands can only dream of, but for better or worse, reinvention doesn't seem to be on the agenda.