Raconteurs & # 39; Help Us Stranger & # 39; has Jack White at Best Collaborative – Variety



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If you're looking for a crowded hangout, try Jack White's Wikipedia page. From totally accomplished bands (such as Alison Mosshart's Dead Weather) to punctual collaborations (such as her duet with Alicia Keys for the James Bond track "Another Way to Die," or partnering with Danger Mouse and Norah Jones on the Spaghetti Western album " Rome "), White always kept a full dance card before and after the White Stripes disbanded in 2011.

But for all the different hats he wears, it is White's tenure as a member of the Raconteurs that has most consistently presented his myriad of talents. Formed in 2005, the band joined White to Michigan solo artist Brendan Benson and garage rockers Jack Lawrence (bass) and Patrick Keeler (drums) of the Greenhornes. In their 2006 debut, "Broken Boy Soldiers," and in 2008, "Consolers of the Lonely," White and Benson traded vocals and guitar licks in a classic and sometimes psychedelic jazz version. So they decided it was time for a break … a long one.

"Help Us Stranger" comes 11 years after "Consolers" and finds White in a very different place in his career since the band started. He created what can only be described as a musical empire of record labels, pressing plants and, not by chance, a hectic solo career that included 2018 "Boarding house". There is only one reason to explain the return of the Raconteurs after such a long absence: it seems Jack White is ready to have fun again.

From the first notes of the opener "Bored and Razed", it is clear that the climate in "Help us to be strangers " is extremely irresistible. You can feel the vertigo in "Razed," where frenzied guitars carry the moment and the band's metropolitan muse, Detroit, gets an early message. The band's explicit title speaks even more about the notion that while White and the company are not claiming that these songs should be considered jokes, there is no need to be too serious about them.

It is probably safe to assume that most of the reviews in this record will make a special point of highlighting Benson's contributions. Although he never has the high-profile fame of his bandmate, Benson is as integral to the Raconteurs as White. His presence not only serves as a contrast to some of White's more indulgent tendencies (look no further than the contrast between "Help Us" and White's extensive Boarding House). for an additional proof), but Benson's affinity for more melodic pop-adjoining melodies gives the Raconteurs a little more glitz.

It is as if there is a melting pot for Benson and White – a musical temperature that, when achieved, allows them to freeze their talents. This warmth can be felt throughout the album, from linking and repeating the "Help Me Stranger" chorus to the double vocals and the noisy piano in the heart of "Shine the Light on Me." There are also some songs that do not capture the spirit of White and Benson's partnership. "Do not Bother Me" is a frantic affair that depends a lot on a simplistic repetitive hook and "What's Yours is Mine" is so focused on getting to your guitar collapse that it does not justify the need for one.

Most of the time, "Help Us" is a simple and effective return for White fans, who are still waiting for a new White Stripes album to arrive one day. This prayer probably will not bring dividends, but with the latest offer from Raconteurs, listeners can at least console themselves with the best consolation prize possible. Most importantly, this album is a timely proof that White can really be at his best when he is limited by the collaborative structure. "Boarding House" was an eclectic miscellany of styles that yielded few pearls, but revealed White's willingness to cite any sonic beaks on which he concentrates. The latest of the Raconteurs leads us to wonder if their future Everest would be better tried not as solo climbs but as part of a team.

There is never any reason to encourage an artist to experience less, but in White's case, his alliance with Benson remains his most viable way to continue exploring the Detroit garage rock that first highlighted the White Stripes. Get into the exceptional work of Lawrence and Keeler, and you have a group that can benefit from the prominence of a member, but it really leaves your mark as a team. It is impossible to know what White will do next, but as the roster of contributors and collaborators continues to grow, we hope there will always be room for the Raconteurs in their plans.

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