Being a Jack White Fan is exhausting. If he’s not recording with The Raconteurs or The Dead Weather, he’s off collaborating with artists as diverse as Danger Mouse and even The Insane Clown Posse. I’ve grown weary of following all his side projects, but this is a solo album. Blunderbuss is pure unadulterated Jack White, but it’s nothing we haven’t already heard. Jack has shown hints of his appreciation for eclectic roots music on past albums, Blunderbuss just happens to be a bigger dose of that. The results are enjoyable enough, but I’m not sure I understand all the hubbub surrounding Blunderbuss.
Blunderbuss is a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and a whole lot of Jack White. I’ll give it to Jack, he has quite a presence on these recordings. His howling vocal delivery is unmatched and the same could be said for his guitar work. He self produces and commands the studio like a musical Swiss Army Knife. So Blunderbuss maybe his best work as a producer, but certainly not as a songwriter. Strip away all the production and these songs are fairly standard and even predictable.
“Sixteen Saltines” is easily the best track on the album. It’s a track that calls back to both the heaviness and simplicity of The White Stripes and frankly, really makes me miss that band. That group built up the heaviest songs with so little, and that’s really when Jack’s at his best. It’s a shame that Blunderbuss doesn’t have more riff heavy hard rockers. Jack has a unique approach to country, but it’s not nearly as captivating as his approach to hard rock.
There’s not a whole lot that differentiates Blunderbuss from Jack’s work on Consolers of the Lonely with The Raconteurs. That was also a very southern-flavored rock record. So Blunderbuss isn’t anything considerably new. That aside, Blunderbuss is still enjoyable for Jack White fans. He’s clearly made an effort to make these songs as polished and complete as possible. I enjoy the feel of this album and I commend the production. All I wanted to do here was present my case as to why I feel this album isn’t the masterpiece everyone seems to be saying it is. This is a solid entry from White, but I hopes he gives me a little more time to breathe before releasing any more recordings.
Favorite Tracks: “Freedom at 21”, “Missing Piece”, “Sixteen Saltines”