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Review :: Jack White – Blunderbuss

Absorbing every bit of influence from his diverse musical ventures, Jack White went on to create and finally release his debut album Blunderbuss. An engaging album, Blunderbuss is definitely something to look out for.

Jack White has been in the public eye for quite some time now. Even while The White Stripes eventually split, Jack went on to play with two successful projects, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. His eccentric persona pervades through everything he does, but his expression through his art remains as honest and raw as ever. This is especially evident in his debut solo release Blunderbuss.

Released this April, Blunderbuss showcases Jack’s intense, ballsy guitar complemented equally well with his blistering and gutsy vocals. His vintage tones are interspersed with his more modern influences. The sound of the album in general is an amalgamation of 70s heavy rock sound (think The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Faces & the Rolling Stones) and the soul-wrenching blues sound comes natural to White (a la Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson & Muddy Waters).  

Many call it his “divorce” album, an album about the split of The White Stripes and the numerous battles that have plagued his life. White also uses very clever wordplay in his songs, deceptively simple yet effective, an effect intensified by his haunting vocals and harmonies.

Immediately as you put on the album, you hear Jack White on the Rhodes moving on to a dreamy atmosphere, before singing his heart out. Missing Pieces, the first track has the energy, the grit and the attitude and lays down the foundation for the entire album.  A short guitar solo followed by a Rhodes solo top the song off.

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Sixteen Saltines also is reminiscent of Jack White’s work with The White Stripes. White’s angry riffage, raw guitar sounds and wailing vocals coupled with his angst filled lyrics are like an outlet for the release of his frustrations. 

Jack White’s vocals are really exceptional on the album, especially on Freedom at 21. Featuring a slick drumbeat, with a tinge of hip-hop, the song also has Jack playing an insane guitar solo, with some crazy play of effects.

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Love Interruption was the first single release from the album. Featuring his all-female backup band, the song has some fearless lyrics, speaking of love the way Jack White sees it. Check out the video here:

The title track Blunderbuss is a moving song with layers of pedal steel guitar. White almost tells us a story with his heartfelt voice in the form of a country waltz with a tinge of Bob Dylan. Jack White again lets out all his turbulent emotions with his lyrics.

Other songs where it would seem appropriate for Jack White to wear a hat while singing include Hypocritical Kiss and Trash Tongue Talker.  He experiments with various other styles as well in songs such as I’m Shakin’, On and On and On and I Guess I Should Go to Sleep, all unique songs in their own right. Jack White’s versatile guitar slinging is both impressive and engaging. Weep Themselves to Sleep is an epic composition by him and has a fantastic guitar solo. Constantly shifting moods, it is almost a story, an opera with attitude.

The final track of the album Take Me With You When You Go is another one of these epic compositions and has brilliant vocal layering coupled with Jack’s guitar mayhem.

Blunderbuss is not an easy album to digest. It does not intend to be easy to digest either, with its outrageous and aggressive music, with occasional moments of mellowing down. However it is a fantastic Rock album, in every sense of the word. It is a modern album showcasing one of the very best guitarists in the scene today.

It may seem chaotic and over the top at times, but if you dig deep you will find an honest and immensely talented musician, expressing himself not giving a damn what anyone has to say. In Sixteen Saltines, White sings “There’s a method to a madness” and in that single line, he pretty much sums up the entire album.

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