The Raconteurs

Broken Boy Soldiers | V2f
By LEON NEYFAKH  |  July 24, 2006
3.0 3.0 Stars
Jack White’s other band — the White Stripes — may be known for their bass-less, three-drums-and-six-strings set-up. But the truth is, he’s been using all kinds of instrumentation all along. Elephant opened with a thick bass line, and there was a marimba center stage on the last White Stripes tour. So it’s no surprise to find White thriving in a more traditional two-guitar line-up (with a full rhythm section) with his latest band, the Raconteurs. Teaming up with singer-songwriter Brendan Benson and two members of the Greenhornes (two acts who toured with the White Stripes earlier this year) on this disappointingly short CD, he takes stabs at the kind of glossy ’60s pop that’s always been Benson’s cup of tea, making his presence felt in songs that are equal parts Benson Beach Boys and White Stripes Zeppelin. And the numbers that he’s written with Benson are carefree and bubblegum just as often as they’re claustrophobic and haunting. In “Hands,” Benson sounds wistful and in love; in “Yellow Sun,” he’s optimistic and nonchalant. Both have White wailing in the background (“You’re making me hungry/You’re making me hungry,” on “Yellow Sun”), conjuring images of a weather-beaten old man sitting on a farm stoop and singing along with a radio. It’s better this way, all apologies to Meg White.
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