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 The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
You can't help but feel that Jack White's more interested in breaking free of the White Stripes than he is in Breaking Boy sSoldiers. The tight, bluesy garage rock of his former band is giving way to, well, heavier garage rock, with an almost Zeppelin-esque 70's vibe. The Raconteurs are formed from Jack White and his friend Brendan Benson, along with the rhythm section of another Cinncinati garage rock band - the Greenhornes.

The album opens with debut single Steady As She Goes and this is probably the best song on the album, but then again this is an amazing song and a brilliant introduction to The Raconteurs. The song sets up the album perfectly and is a relief to anyone who thought that this album might end up sounding like "the White Stripes with a bass player". Instead, what you get is a great slice of garage rock at its finest. The benefits of having two songwriters in a band is that you can get a wider variety of music in the album, and this is demonstrated in Broken Boy Soldiers with both Jack White and Brendan Benson at the helm. However it's a double-edged sword that results in the album sounding rather confused, as though they are more of a 70s covers band than a modern band with a definitive sound.

As for the tracks themselves, it's again a real mixed bag. We have the likes of Intimate Secretary, which isn't a bad song despite its appalling lyrics; "I've got a rabbit, it likes to hop/ I've got a girl and she likes to shop;" which are for the most part of the song complete nonsense. The song even manages at times to border on psychedelia, adding another genre into White's side project. Together slows the whole mood of the album right down, it is one of the few softer tracks on the album, along with Call It A Day. Although while Call It A Day manages to help finish off the album fittingly along with the closer Blue Veins, Together slows the record down unnecessarily.

Level is the next track on the record, and it has a repeated bluesy riff, very characteristic of Jack White's other band, with a bit of back and forth singing between Benson and White. Store Bought Bones, which was released as a B-side to Steady, As She Goes, is one of the highlights of the album. With heavy guitar riffs and a notable bassline it builds up to the fast paced exciting end that shows what the Raconteurs could have been. Yellow Sun is something very different from the rest of the album, in that it is a mainly acoustic track with backing drumming. It almost sounds as though it is the Shins attempting to be a country band from the 70's, but it is very interesting and has been left in the raw form of a demo.

In theory the combination of Jack White, from the White Stripes, Brendan Benson, and the rhythm section of the Greenhornes sounds like they would make an excellent record bringing together three different styles to create a more modern type of supergroup, but in practice what you get is a band that has released a collection of songs that sound as though they are covers of groups all from a certain time period, ie the Seventies, with no real sense of who they actually are as a band and no real clear direction to their music. And although the record does have some noteworthy songs, like the opener, Steady, As She Goes and Store Bought Bones, it ultimately isn't as good as the White Stripes, which people were always going to compare it to due to the sharing of the frontman. Although it is nice to see Jack White do something a little bit different from the White Stripes with his time, but we are now just more excited about the next Stripes' record than in anticipation of another Raconteurs album.

6.5 out of 10

Buy The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers now at Play.com
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