It is however, an obvious sum of its parts. The White-Benson songwriting partnership veers between emphasis on the duo’s individual styles; de facto title track ‘Broken Boy Soldier’ is undeniably White, the unbridled romanticism of ‘Together’ so obviously Benson, and the almost epic ‘Intimate Secretary’ a wonderful example of what happens when their worlds collide.
Most of the tracks on ‘Broken Boy Soldiers’ do fit in to this mould, although it’s not merely a haphazard mixture of stripped-down blues and warm singer/songwriter material. ‘Level’ is sleazier than either have produced until now, and ‘Store Bought Bones’ more off-beat, despite both benefiting from White’s obsession with the pre-digital era.
With the near-experimental sounding aural black cloud of ‘Blue Veins’ finishing off, it’s hard to remember that this is the first album from musicians of the third millennium, and not seasoned blues rockers of the hazy, drugged-out 1970s. Simultaneously retrospective, timeless, and now.
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You can also see clips from their recent intimate performances at Coney Island Baby and Baby’s Alright.
Something if not greater, then at least as good as the sum of their considerable parts.
The record is released next week.
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The Raconteurs, Jarvis, Parquet Courts… you can’t argue with that.