The Raconteurs made a big to-do with Consolers for the Lonely, releasing it almost immediately after recording it, without promotion and to avoid pre-release leaks and reviews. Was it just plain paranoia or a sincere “screw you” to the industry? Either way, the album almost lives up to the drama surrounding it.
In “Salute Your Solution,” frontmen Jack White and Brendan Benson toss ’70s blues jams into a devilish whirlwind of punked-out garage rock. Their searing guitar solos—smacked around by Patrick Keeler’s fist-pumping drum storms— add wildfire to their twin powers of vocal seductiveness. “You Don’t Understand Me” slithers with blues-y piano while “Many Shades of Black” weaves Pink Floyd undertones, dark horn choruses, and 1950s crooning into rock opera theatrics.
Consolers for the Lonely is fairly diverse from song to song. Two solid songwriters like White and Benson can create an unflinching rock album in their sleep. But at times it feels easy and rushed, skimming the surface almost superficially. Their previous album, Broken Boy Solider, twined Benson’s pop tendencies and White’s grittiness in magnetic balance. Benson gets a few turns in the spotlight, but more often, Jack’s White Stripes’ influence overpowers.