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Consolers of the Lonely
     

Consolers of the Lonely

4.2 9
by The Raconteurs
 

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For their second recording, Jack White and Brendan Benson plus the redoubtable rhythm section of Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler decamped to Blackbird Studio in Nashville. Working through songs that had been written and honed during their 2006 tour, the band presented Consolers of the Lonely without any of the lead-up fanfare customary to major releases. The

Overview

For their second recording, Jack White and Brendan Benson plus the redoubtable rhythm section of Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler decamped to Blackbird Studio in Nashville. Working through songs that had been written and honed during their 2006 tour, the band presented Consolers of the Lonely without any of the lead-up fanfare customary to major releases. The surprise disc features the single "Salute Your Solution."

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Anybody who has followed Jack White's online screeds and offstage brawls knows that the White Stripes' mastermind can tend to get a little, well, defensive when he's challenged (and sometimes even when he's not), but this trait hasn't always surfaced on record -- at least not in the way he and his merry band of Raconteurs do on their second album, Consolers of the Lonely. At the very least, this bubbling blend of bizarro blues, rustic progressive rock, fractured pop, and bludgeoning guitars is a finger in the eye to anyone who dared call the band a mere power pop trifle, proof that the Raconteurs are a rock & roll band, but it's not just the sound of the record that's defiant. There's the very nature of the album's release: how it was announced to the world a week before its release when it then appeared in all formats in all retail outfits simultaneously; there's the obstinately olde-fashioned look of the art work, how the group is decked out like minstrels at a turn-of-the century carnival, or at least out of Dylan's Masked and Anonymous. Most of all, there's the overriding sense that the Raconteurs are turning into an outlet for every passing fancy that Jack has but will not allow himself to indulge within the confines of the tightly controlled White Stripes, whether it's melodramatic Western operas like "The Switch and the Spur" (whose concluding bridge states "any poor souls who trespass against us...will be suffer the bite or be stung dead on sight," functioning as a virtual manifesto for the band), or the slick studio trickery that makes this the biggest White-related production yet. And it's hard to shake the feeling that this is the show of Jack White III (as he now insists on billing himself, playing right into his ongoing Third Man fetish), as that despite the even split in songwriting and producing credits between Jack and Brendan Benson, and even how they trade off lead vocals, that only White could have pushed the Raconteurs to get as stubbornly, stiffly weird as they do here. Of course, that impression is not tempered by how Brendan mimics Jack's manic blues babble, particularly on the spitfire "Salute Your Solution" -- White does follow Benson's gentle, rounded phrasing on the elongated melodies, but that's a subtle distinction overpowered by the force of Jack's concepts. And this is indeed "concepts" in plural: how cult hero Terry Reid is used as a touchstone for the band's progressive blues-rock via a blazing cover of "Rich Kid Blues," or how there's an evocation of the old weird America in all the album's rambling centerpieces, or how half of the record fights against pop brevity, while all of it is a deathblow against the idea that the Raconteurs are power pop sissies. Sometimes, the group hits against that notion with a bluesy bluster, especially on the opening pair of tunes which tread a bit too closely toward Jack conventions, sometimes their attempts to stretch out are either ill-defined ("Attention," "You Don't Understand Me") or collapse under their own weight ("Many Shades of Black"), but the moments that do work -- and there are many -- make for the best music the Raconteurs have yet made. The album truly kicks into gear with the tipsy country stomp of "Old Enough" and after that, there's a series of remarkable moments: that absurd Morricone dust-up "The Switch and the Spur"; "Hold Up," which rages like '70s Stones at their sleaziest; the rampaging "Five on the Five"; that splendid Reid cover that finds its heir on the steadily building "These Stones Will Shout," and finally, the closing backwoods ballad on "Carolina Drama." These songs illustrate all the ways that Jack White's stubborn stylization pays off -- they're quite deliberate in their conflation of the traditional and modern, yet they never sound over-thought, they kick and crackle as pure kinetic music. Broken Boy Soldiers lacked tunes like these, tunes with considerable weight, and these songs turn Consolers of the Lonely into a lop-sided, bottom-loaded album that's better and richer than their debut.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/25/2008
Label:
Warner Bros / Wea
UPC:
0093624987314
catalogNumber:
456060
Rank:
3286

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Raconteurs   Primary Artist
Memphis Horns   Horn
Jack Hale   Horn
Wayne Jackson   Horn
Dirk Powell   Fiddle
Brendan Benson   Strings,Vocals,Xiao,Ding,Group Member
Tom McGinley   Horn
Dean Fertita   Clavinet
Patrick Keeler   Percussion,Drums,Group Member
Jack White   Organ,Piano,Vocals,Stylophone,Frets,Group Member

Technical Credits

Terry Reid   Composer
Joe Chiccarelli   Engineer
Wayne Jackson   Horn Arrangements
Brendan Benson   Composer,Producer,Horn Arrangements
Jack White   Composer
Jack White   Producer,Horn Arrangements

Customer Reviews

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Consolers of the Lonely 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a huge White Stripes fan, I initially didnt like the first Raconteurs album. I was hoping for that WS sound, and when it wasnt there I put the album aside, only to pick it up again a few months later and realize their talent and potential. 'Consolers of the Lonely' is the huge leap forward they need to convince the masses. I highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys straight up classic style rock, and to fans of the White Stripes too. (This album might even be better than the last WS release!)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
When I put Consolers of the Lonely in for the first time, I expected Broken Boy Soldiers Part II. I wanted even more sprawling, raucous fuzzed-out, bluesy, distorted vintage 60s madness. That album's material (live moreso by far) was greatly inspired by the past, but it never tried to hard. I expected elaborations of those live songs with the new disc. Much to my surprise, the album is, instead, littered with pop melodies, over-zealous instrumentation, and a lot of the time, no actual purpose. Several songs carry on for no reason, or make a shift in sound that has you scratching your head. It's not that it's weird--it's just meaningless. I want to know the purpose behind all the horns on Switch and the Spur. I want to know why Attention has so much screwing around toward the end. I want to know why Pull This Blanket Off Me is so outta key and why the guitar is randomly thrown in there. Flaws aside, the melodies themselves are very poppy, as i mentioned. Not necessarily in a catchy, radio-friendly kinda way, but more like a cute, indie kind of way. Hmm. Sounds like Brendan's solo work, actually. If he didn't heavily influence this album by writing most of the songs, I don't know what it is that makes it so drastically different. They mentioned they were experimenting a lot. But with that word--experimenting--I think of weird, crazy, psychedelic stuff. Yeah. Not here. Listen to them expound and expand on live versions of any song and they'll blow you away. They bring energy, passion, and explosion to most anything (thanks largely to drummer Patrick Keeler). I was disappointed with the album, but that could be from my own expectations. Music fans I think will enjoy it immensely, whether they aer fans of the white stripes, benson, or the greenhornes. Casual listeners will probably be drawn in, even though the first single, Salute Your Salution, isn't your typical radio-friendly hit. I recommend this because not everyone has as staunch expectations and standards as I. :) Plus, the first two tracks are pretty amazing, as is Top Yourself and Many Shades of Black (minus the horns). A few other songs are strong, too, though. But the album is definitely flawed. I forgive them because they rock so hard live. :D