By Clare McCabe
Released Friday June 6th, 2014 - Sony Music
Mr Jack White returns with the follow-up to the wonderfulBlunderbuss (his first solo album) with Lazaretto. Welcome back Jack.
Now let's be honest, Mr White is not to everyone's taste, but he is certainly to mine. First there was the White Stripes with Meg, thenThe Dead Weather with Alison and also the Raconteurs with the boys. Love them all, but I think the new solo stuff (Blunderbuss and Lazaretto) is Jack totally being Jack, all by himself. Can just imagine him sitting out on his veranda inNashville with his guitar (remember him in the movie It Might Get Loud) and singing away to his neighbours while writing this album.
Apparently Lazaretto was inspired (according to Jack) when he discovered in his attic some short stories and plays he had written back when he was 19 years old. So cute.
There is a huge mix of music styles on this album and a lot of different instruments - loads of piano (so much piano), violin, mandolin, harp and even a bit of moog synth. Love it.
There's an instrumental (High Ball Stepper) in which Jack goes wild on the guitar with some serious distortion - can't wait to hear that one live.
First single Lazaretto (with accompanying crazy video) is all over the place, in a good way of course, sing along won't you - Como en madera y yeso. Then there is that fiddle on Temporary Ground, best served loud.
My favourite tune though is the lovely melancholy Entitlement, with the great twangy vocals, and country/folky tone. "I'm tired of being told what to do", sings Jack. Indeed.
We also have That Black Bat Licorice that starts off with a ska-esque bounce (layer it up) and then off we go with a crazy hip-hop-style to the singing (go Jack). Feedbacks and guitar frenzies abound.
Another stand-out tune is Alone In My Home, which has a great 70s Cat Stevens vibe to it - more lost feelings of love anyone? Oh the pain of it all.
There sure is a lot of heartbreak being sung about on this album - from recent experience Jack or from your 19-year-old self? I guess if your songs are about personal experiences, the passion shows. And it certainly does on Lazaretto.
Pretty much the more you listen, the better it gets.
Jack recently played the Governors Ball in New York where the new songs apparently went down a treat. Looking forward to him touring this new stuff - wonder if he will have an all-girl band alternating with an all-boy band on this tour, like he did with Blunderbuss? It doesn't matter who comes with him band-wise, tickets will be purchased.
Anyone on Team White - buy this immediately. And turn it up.