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Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Jul 2nd, 2014

Jack White: Lazaretto

lazarettoJack White
Lazaretto
(Third Man Records)

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Shucking organ, flappin’ drums and a bright piano inform the funk of the stop-and-go  “Three Women,” the first track of Lazaretto, Jack White’s new album. The title track is another overcharged, white funk, distorted, electric guitar/bass mess (in a good way), with White’s asthma-attack vocal. Again there’s distorted guitar playing and the track ends with some very cool and surprising fiddle. “Temporary Ground” is a soft vocal, acoustic guitar, pedal steel, banjo and fiddle send-up. “Entitlement” is pedal steel, piano, mandolin, guitar-laced country-pretty with a fun lyric and singable chorus. “That Black Bat Licorice” is where the odd sounds, riffery and overly-distorted guitar comes together best in all these 11 tracks. It’s a big, noisy funk number with distorted vocals, weird and wailing over a truly wild lyric. The lushness of plaintive fiddle, mandolin and runnin’ fast, desperate two-part harmony (again) make the schunkin’ beat (again) of “I Think I Found the Culprit” another great later tune here. How can you beat a “birds of a feather lay together, but the uglier one is always under the gun” lyric?

I’m not so sure what to really think about Lazaretto as much as I don’t ever know what to think about Jack White. The guy can play, produce and write for sure, but is he more about keeping a concocted image intact, infusing odd-sounding, essentially decent poppy country songs or is White an odd duck producing some really interesting soundscapes?

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Jack White: Lazaretto