Jack White: Lazaretto (Third Man) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Jack White


Third Man

Jun 25, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Jack White‘s latest is chock full of bluesy soul and steps right into that blurry territory between Detroit rocker and Nashville troubadour that White has staked out as his own. It’s better than his first solo effort, 2012’s Blunderbuss, a record that never quite seemed to meet the expectations of his earliest White Stripes fans, but listeners who grew to love The White Stripes’ blistering minimalism just might grow to love the big-band soul coming from Lazaretto. Typically known for putting out records in a matter of weeks, White began writing and recording Lazaretto in 2012. The polish is not always palpable on the record, but there’s a definite sense of increased scale: both the album opener and title track close out with big swells of noise, layers of strings and guitars bolted together with pounding drums.

White’s been doing this so long there are certain sounds automatically attributed to himthe screeching whoosh heard all over the instrumental “High Ball Stepper” and the gut-crunching rapid-fire guitar work that never overstays its welcome. “Lazaretto” boasts a chunky Jack White riff that eventually gets weighed down in the song’s raucous climax, while “Temporary Ground” is a country-fried ballad with all the angst of a classic White song. He gets big and spooky on “Would You Fight For My Love?” The second side of Lazaretto is more lyrical and song-driven, dropping the overblown showmanship. “Alone In My Home” is a good example of White reigning in the ambitious sound for the intimacy of his old days.

Of course, that’s if his old days are really worth the comparison. It seems like White is aware that his solo work will always be viewed in the larger framework of his whole discography. After all, he sticks to many of the same themes that defined The White Stripesan obsession with the number three, a limited color palette, and that defining guitar voice. The Jack White we hear on Lazaretto is a natural evolution of the Jack White we heard on De Stijl and White Blood Cells. He’s maturing, and his musical ideas are growing into little beasts of their own. It’s never clearer than with the inclusion of the final song here, “Want and Able,” meant to be the second act in a trilogy that began with Icky Thump‘s “Effect and Cause.” It’s bold, but Lazaretto argues that White’s legacy may still be intact if he plans on waiting several more years for the third act. (www.jackwhiteiii.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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