Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soliders

I like the White Stripes a lot, not as much as some people out there, but I do own most of their CDs. I enjoy how Jack White (who is the main performer of the group, seriously Meg is the Ringo of the White Stripes) can jump around musically; from a hard rock blast to a bluegrass jamboree over the course of an album; just remarkable.

Brenden Benson is also pretty good. I'm not as familiar with him as I am the White Stripes, but I do like Alternative to Love, his third disc. He is more of a power pop guy, 60's and 70's AM sunny pop. (I use the term pop music here as sunny, happy, fun music. Not Backstreet Boys, Lindsey Lohan pop.)

Why am I mentioning Benson and White? They are the two lead singers of the Raconteurs. Benson and White have known each other for years, both having grown up in the Detroit music scene. The band started when Benson had music for the song that eventually became "Steady as She Goes" and asked White to help write the lyrics. After a few sessions with Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler (the rhythm section from the Greenhornes, who also played with White on Lorreta Lynn's latest) (I'm not really familiar with the Greenhorns, but I am in the process of checking them out) the Raconteurs were born. They cut an album whenever the four of them could get in the same city and the result was Broken Boy Soliders.

The Racontuers - Broken Boy Soliders.

The opening track is the aforementioned "Steady as She Goes". This song just plain rocks; this is their first single and is (right now anyways) is their big hit. If you listen to one song out of this review (hopefully you'll listen to the whole album) let it be "Steady as She Goes". I love the guitar riff and the bassline reminds me a lot of Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him" (which isn't a bad thing).

The second track, "Hands", is the most "White Stripe-ish" song on the album. It is a straight up rocker, pretty good, but nothing special.

I really like the third track, "Broken Boy Soliders" which is the title track. I really enjoy the beginning, I believe it's a mandolin that is playing and I just love the lick it blasts right through (though it could be a guitar). The song has some nice grooves and White voice is perfect for the song. Sometimes it can be difficult to decifer which singer is doing the singing, White or Benson (not here though), either way, it is good. This is one of my favorite tracks on the CD.

Track four is "Intimate Secretary" and starts off with almost a middle eastern type drone. But the song breaks though the drone with some fun lyrics and a fuzzy organ sound. Fun lyric sample: "I got a rabbit, it likes to hop/I got a girl, and she likes to shop/The other foot looks like it won't drop/I had an uncle but he got shot" - does it makes sense? Not really, but it is fun. Plus the whole time White is running up and down the key board. Fun stuff. I recomend.

This is followed "Together", which sounds more like a Benson ballad. I really enjoy the chorus on this one; there is some nice call and response with Benson and White. Actually, scratch that, I really enjoy the whole track. The lyrics are nice here too: "You want everything to be just like/The stories that you read, but never write/You gotta learn to live, and live and learn/You gotta learn to give and wait your turn/Or get burned". Come on, tell me that isn't sweet.

"Level" follows "Together" and starts off with a kinda weird and 'outer spacey' sound. But the chugging guitars come, rockin hard. I like this track, the guitar solo is pretty badass. Is itthe highlight of the CD? No. But it is a pretty decent song at worst.

The next track, "Store Bought Bones" is also a bit "White Stripe-ish". It is heavier than most of the track on the album, the organ is really prevelent here, which is pretty sweet. The chorus is cool, with most of the band singing/shouting. The guitar solos here are awesome as well. A good song.

My favorite track is next, "Yellow Sun". I played this song for my friend Danielle, before she knew anything abou the band and she said "Yellow Sun":"'sounds like a mix of the Beatles and the White Stripes". It is an accoustic ballad type, but with some really sunny organ playing. Just a fun song overall, this is one of the gems on the album.

"Call it a Day" is next; it's another slow song, not as soft as "Yellow Sun" but I could've imagined this ending the album. Not that I'm complaining, I enjoy the closer as well. "Call it a Day" has some great harmonies in the background. This is a song I could see people holding lighters to in concert.

The actual closer is "Blue Veins". It starts off with some backward guitar parts, very Revolver Beatles style. I believe (I could be wrong) that this is the only song with actual piano on it (as opposed to organ). "Blue Veins" sounds like something you'd hear on Dark Side of the Moon. Just the way it's structured and how the it sound sonically. Despite what I said about "Call it a Day", I can totally see why they would close the album with "Blue Veins". What a song....

10 tracks thats it. Only 10, about a half hour of music. Again, I've stated before that I enjoy long albums, and 10 track and 30 minutes is pretty short. But, again, after Babyshambles rambling debut, I'd prefer a concise 10 track CD to a sloppy 16 track one. Who knows how long this 21st century super group will last, but this 10 track album is a delight.

Track Highlights: "Steady as She Goes", "Broken Boy Soliders", "Intimate Secretary", "Together", "Call it a Day" and "Blue Veins".

No comments: