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Tuesday, 10 June 2014



The White Keys.

Nashville, Tennessee. In the country of the United States Of America its the home of music. Still its not just Cash and Dolly down this country music hall of fame. Take a tour around music city and amongst all the vinyl exchanges you may just find Jack White's Third Man record store. Dig through the crates there and you'll find many a White Stripe 45. From classic records like 'Seven Nation Army' to 'Fell In Love With A Girl' and 'White Blood Cells' to 'elephant'. Flip further through and you'll find brilliant bands like The Raconteurs and heavey Dead Weather that are anything but just side projects. Then you'll hit a individual section of this independent giant and pull out something else entirely in 'Blunderbuss', Jack White's first shot at solo success, riding shotgun with nobody but his amp. Now its time to dust off the record player and add one more to the classic catalogue shelf as this Jack of hallmark, decades gone music drops the needle on 'Lazaretto'. Without a scratch-judging from the high octane title track that borrows the plug in from his 'Another Way To Die', 'Quantum Of Solace', James Bond theme with soul saviour Alicia Keys and strumming and scaling higher than his 'Love Is Blindness', 'Great Gatsby' standout-we have another classic L.P. on our hands.

"My veins are blue and connected / And every single bone in my brain is electric", sings White on what may just be the most colourful track of his career. Painted with harsh guitar lines and vocal shades this is a pallet of musical artistry and the big guitar classic number his individual solo career has been waiting for. Its truly the track that kicks off this album even if it comes after the fun opener, introduction to 'Three Women'. After all this we're on the 'Temporary Ground' of a classic, country collaboration that takes us straight to the roots of the folk of Nashville but also is a straight shot of Jack. You could find a track like this hidden somewhere on one of those old records with Meg. Then Mr. White asks 'Would You Fight For My Love?' on a track that feels all back to the future, halfway between being something of the saged aged soundtracks of decades past and something that somewhat sounds ironically both current and ahead of its time once the ivory kicks in. With lasting lyrics like, " But I'm afraid of being hurt that's true/But not afraid of any physical pain/Just as I am always scared of water/But not afraid of standing out in the rain", there arent too many similarities to love written as an ode in this day and age like this. With couplets that guys like Willie Nelson only bring together, you can see in all his duality that Jack has found his musical and spiritual home in the state of Tennessee.

The inspired instrumentation of 'High Ball Stepper' continues this influence. Its not just an epic showcase that shows why White is one of this generations guitar Gods. Its also as heroic turn on rocking out over a few minutes of eclectic electric. Then White tasked it to the real home of music in Nashville-the bars-with 'Just One Drink'. A hypnotic hook of a track that will leave you drunk off the classic chorus, "Just one drink gets me closer/just one drink, it rolls you over" that finds itself a barstool home on Music Row. If you don't think Jack is welcomed in Johnny's city then after you hear the line "You drink water, I drink gasoline/one of us is happy, one of us is mean", you know even without a rant and a letter of apology there's no competition for the man that could stand next to the man in black with his own stetson tipped fashion. The piano of 'Alone In My Home' plays this again Sam in another track that shows this man has been like the Phantom of the Opera, alone in his home studio, searching and striving for that perfect sound he's found in all its 'Entitlement', like that slow burner of smouldering success. 'That Black Bat Licorice' continues this crude oil, midnight hour darkness that is as captivating as it is atmospheric. Things feel even more like a breath of fresh air in the sound of 'I Think I Found A Culprit'. While the ballad of a closer in 'Want and Able' rounds things off perfectly with the right track. As Jack sings "Who is the who, telling who what to do", its clear no one is telling White what to do as he goes it alone for a second stripe of a solo set that adds more collateral to his classic catalogue. A few more albums down the road and his songbook will be your real tour guide through Music City. Time to hit your local record store, because real old fashioned music is still alive. You know Jack. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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