Entertainment

Mitchell: White’s CD is a ‘solid keeper’

Jack White:

Blunderbuss (Columbia)

After huge successes with The White Stripes, Dead Weather and The Raconteurs, Jack White has finally stepped out for his first solo album.

White generally becomes the focus of attention with any act he plays which is why this solo album is greatly anticipated, and he does not disappoint with Blunderbuss.

White is probably best described as an alt rocker but here he plays several alt-blues rock songs with a dozen originals and a cool remake of The Blasters’ blue collar gospel rocker I’m Shakin’.

The lead single is the high energy Sixteen Saltines which is the most White Stripes-like song here, while my fave track is Freedom Of 21 which sounds like Roy Loney (of Flamin’ Groovies fame, whom The Raconteurs have covered) fronting late ’70s Gang Of Four with its angular, lock-jaw guitar riffs.

But what surprised me the most are the three rootsy folk rock songs Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy, I Guess I Should Go To Sleep and On And On And On that all sound like White has been listening to a lot of ’70s Ronnie Lane solo albums after the breakup of The Faces/Small Faces,

The latter of the three tunes mentioned sounds like it used The Journey from Ogdens Nut Gone Flake as a template.

There are lots of wild swings in White’s approach, none less than the 7/8 time signature for the closing number Take Me With You When You Go that seems to borrow a lot of its impetus from Dave Brubeck’s classic jazz crossover hit Take Five.

There is plenty to sink your teeth into on Jack White’s debut solo and all the tunes are short with scads of delightful, dynamic diversions.

A solid keeper.

B

Think Like A Man: Soundtrack (Epic)

This box office smash has a fairly predictable soundtrack with “music from and inspired by the film,” meaning some of these songs do not even grace the sliver screen speakers.

But this is almost a standard fare soundtrack.

There are the new songs from big hit makers, a few so-so tunes from lesser known talents and a couple of oldie evergreens to round things out.

The big selling points here include the title track which features big beats behind Jennifer Hudson & Ne-Yo and the mid-tempo ballad with John Legend on Tonight (Best You Ever Had) that sports a rap from Ludacris.

The lesser knowns include Marcus Canty (recently signed by Babyface Reid), Billy Wes and Dutch singer Quatron.

The two oldies include Earth Wind & Fires’ superlative That’s The Way Of The World and Luther Vandross’s Never Too Much.

Passable urban, make-out music for this mostly all black cast.

C+

Dry The River:

Shallow Bed (RCA)

The British press is all over this debut from Mumford & Sons-like nu-folk act Dry The River.

The group leader is Norway born singer/writer Peter Liddle who has an odd gender neutral voice sort of somewhere between Jon Anderson of Yes and Antony of Antony And The Johnsons.

The Brit music trade paper NME is quoted on the add-on sticker to this album saying “genuinely thrilling” but then again the Brit press is always eager to overstate the case.

To my ears this is an amalgam of nu-folk with what used to be called progressive rock with some side trips into orchestral pop.

The most accessible tune here is New Ceremony that takes a while to warm up to while producer Peter Katis (The National, Interpol) sometimes puts up a wall of sound that is hard to penetrate.

Tunes like Lion’s Den and Weights & Measures had me thinking old King Crimson more so than folk.

In spite of the hype, it will be interesting to see if this disc takes off domestically but I think probably not.

C+

Download Of The Week

Kopek: Love Sick Blues (No, not the Ol’ Hank Williams song).

Fans of alt blues such as The White Stripes, Wolfmother and The Kings Of Leon will probably love Kopek, an Irish group who are big stars in the Emerald Isles where they have often opened for U2.

Kopek’s album White Collar Lies came out about 18 months ago and bombed but it deserved a far better fate.

If you like the first selection you will also like the song Bring It On Home. Dynamic stuff.

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