Trigger happy tunes

Fri, Apr 20, 2012, 01:00

CD CHOICE: JACK WHITE/ Blunderbuss/Third Man Records*****

Perhaps the best guitarist of his generation and definitely the most singularly talented figure to emerge from the music world in the last 15 years, Jack White excites and intrigues while others plod and drift. A man with vision and the artistic wherewithal to execute that vision with both éclat and elan, hopes are sky-high for this his debut solo offering.

Having finally bolted the door firmly shut on the possibility of a White Stripes reunion, White has been a strangely muted presence in The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, but on this 13-track eclectic sprawl of invention and ingenuity he plays to all his strengths and has provided one of the this year’s real musical highlights.

Saying “these songs were written from scratch, had nothing to do with anyone or anything else but my own expression, my own colours on my own canvas”, White has written, recorded and produced everything here (apart from one cover). Opener Missing Pieces, while underplayed and far from full-throttle, is still a belter of a song. Sixteen Saltines sounds like Led Zeppelin trying to do punk rock; it’s what great modern rock music is all about. The single Love Interruption you probably already know, but the psychedelic pedal-steel of the title track is new territory even for him. It sounds like the perfect soundtrack for Deadwood.

Everything here is imbued with a controlled sense of passion: Weep Themselves To Sleep is declamatory; I’m Shakin’ is an inspired cover of a Blasters song, and the exquisitely titled Trash Tongue Talker is so roots-rocky it makes Alabama Shakes sound like a techno band. On the closing track, Take Me With You When You Leave, there’s some wallpaper jazz thrown in; he can even get away with that. It’s a falsetto-enhanced wig-out that serves as the perfect bookend. This is simply superlative rock music.

Download tracks:Sixteen Saltines, Blunderbuss, Weep Themselves To Sleep, Trash Tongue Talker