The Raconteurs Consolers of the Lonely

The Raconteurs Consolers of the Lonely
If the Raconteurs’ debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers, created "Jack White: Guitar Hero” – the side benefit being the White Stripes’ Icky Thump – then Consolers of the Lonely sounds like White and co-front-man Brendan Benson doing their best to become Lennon and McCartney. While the first album was a successful blend of White’s pure energy and Benson’s power pop smarts, the follow-up is a total group effort, with the pair playing off each other in exhilarating fashion. The results can only be described as classic rock in the best possible way: a band suddenly realising their unique alchemy. After the initial twin three-chord blasts of the title track and "Salute Your Solution,” the album moves into the darker rootsy territory of "Old Enough,” "The Switch And The Spur” and "Top Yourself,” powered by White’s recent fondness for Hammond organ, and embellished by horns and fiddle. It’s all best exemplified by "Many Shades Of Black,” comprised of a tragic Benson melody, a pinched White guitar solo, and an arrangement straight from the Rubber Soul manual. There’s still plenty of rawness throughout, and White particularly shines on "Five On The Five” and "Attention,” but he also shows that his reputed recent hangs with Bob Dylan have rubbed off with wordy closer "Carolina Drama.” Although it ends the album on a rather curious note, it doesn’t detract from Consolers Of The Lonely’s rich musical tapestry — proof that there is still potential to come up with exciting ways to utilise rock’s proven basic elements. (Warner)