The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers

‘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.

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It would be easy to forget that, as Jack White proclaims, The Raconteurs are a new band. Both White and fellow frontman/songwriter Brendan Benson have a hefty back catalogue that most are familiar with, and even The Greenhornes, from which backing duo Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler were poached, aren’t entirely unknown. Yet, ‘Broken Boy Soldiers’ is, after all, a debut release.

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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