Saturday, May 27, 2006

THE GOOD: The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers

Driving in today's world sucks. There are three things that practically ruin the experience. Slow drivers who don't know where they are going, people driving while trying to find a number in their cellphone, and road construction. All of these factors combine to make getting from one place to another one of the most miserable experiences of the day. If they all would die, life would be a much happier place. Luckily some genius invented a way for us to hear music in our cars. While driving fast on an open road, Pearl Jam's "Rearview Mirror" is king. If you're down by the ocean on a nice summer's day, Public Enemy's "By the Time I Get To Arizona" fits the bill like a glove. So when an album comes out that helps make that horrible commute a tad better, it's something to take note of.

Intro to the fresh offering by the Raconteurs. Regardless of who else is in the band, this is Jack White's side project. Sure, lesser-known Brendan Benson is in the band, too. But unless you worked for a college radio station sometime in the last don't know who he is. The Raconteurs pick up where the White Stripes rarely delve. Straight-up rock music. Where the White Stripes might be a good band to listen to on a winding drive through a mountain forest, the Raconteurs are a band that are primed for that drive on an open freeway at 11 at night.

The music is raw but restrained. It's harsh but refreshing. It's only draw-back is the lack of chemistry. Where the White Stripes have had ten years to refine their sound, this band is still getting to know each other. But that's a good thing. They sound like they are having fun. So many times, when musicians get big they begin to phone in their performances. Not here. Everyone sounds like they are reborn, getting a second chance at starting from the beginning. And if anything, they sound like they are loving it.

1. Steady As She Goes - Probably the most White Stripes sounding offering on the disc. It feels like an a track that would fall somewhere between White Blood Cells and Elephant. The perfect song to start your road trip.
2. Hands - Broken Social Boy Soldier Scene. A good song for arriving at a new town and slowly checking out the scene.
3. Broken Boy Soldier - If Jack White made a deal with the devil, then the two of them co-wrote this song while rockin' on a back porch at the stroke of midnight. Would fit the mood being lost on a country road late at night.
4. Intimate Secretary - You know all those indie bands trying to sound indie...this sounds like they are trying to sound like that but never got past the demo stage. Not a song you want to be stuck in traffic listening to.
5. Together - A tender and sincere offering may be the strongest track on the disc. Though it falls smack in the middle of the album, it's the perfect song to play at the end of the raod trip as your coming home.
6. Level - The most blues-infused track makes the perfect background music for cruising the main drag of your favorite boulevard.
7. Store Bought Bones - The repetativeness of the song builds to an explosive finale. Listen to the first half of this song going up a hill, then blast the second half coming down.
8. Yellow Sun - A happy light ditty begging to be played on a summer drive.
9. Call It A Day - As the album creeps to the end, so does the tempo. This one is much dreerier than its counterpart at #5. A good song when its late at night and your heading for your hotel after a long day of sight-seeing or gambling. (that's a Vegas road trip reference...come should all get that one)
10. Blue Veins - Jack white takes over this last song to throw-out the white man's imitation of Muddy Waters or Otis Redding. If you're going to listen to this song in the car, do it while the garage is closed and the engine is ruining...

How it compares to the WS...

1. Elephant - A-
2. De Stijl - B+
3. The Raconteurs - B
4. Get Behind Me Satan - B
5. White Blood Cells - B-
6. The White Stripes - D

And for your listening pleasure...

1. Rated X - The White Stripes
2. Lovesick (live at the Forum) - The White Stripes (Bob Dylan cover)

_____________________ - The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers


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