I think I have a new album to enter into my top ten favourites of all time. Blunderbuss by Jack White is quite simply an astounding album of heartache and woe. My only complaint when listening to it was that I didn’t have it on vinyl, because this is an album that belongs on a table, spinning under the needle.
Anyone that is picking up Blunderbuss is probably already quite familiar with White and really the album won’t hold many surprises for you, but please don’t think that that means that this is a boring album. White, true to his style, is relentless in his urgent attack on these songs. Whether it be the slower acoustic Love Interruption or the clearly Dave Brubeck inspired Take Me, the tracks of Blunderbuss are captivating and demand the listener’s attention.
There is an almost generational mismatch that White seems to delight in orchestrating. Many of the songs sound like they belong from a completely time, until there is a sudden screaming guitar that brings us back to the present. His cover of I’m Shaking, by Little Willie John, has all the R&B classic feel of the half-century original and still seems completely at home nestled in amongst tracks like the seventies sounding Sixteen Saltines or the jazzy organ driven Missing Pieces. Even the country-flavoured Blunderbuss, the album’s namesake, is seamlessly woven into the track list.
It should be noted that not everything here is purely White though. On each of the songs, he is more than aptly backed by a fleet of Nashville musicians lending their instruments and voices to his solo debut. In fact…seeing as this is an album of broken love and failed relationships it is fitting that most of his musical support is made up women.
There is a sense that White’s previous works, be it as part of The White Stripes or The Raconteurs have all been just a warm up. Though a very personal album, Blunderbuss is White truly flexing his muscles and giving us everything he’s got.