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Harry Harland (Jack White – Blunderbuss)

As the driving force behind the White Stripes, the Raconteurs and more recently the Dead Weather, Jack White firmly established himself as one of the best musicians of his generation. It was also largely evident in these projects that he had almost total creative control over the bands, so the question confronting the release of his debut solo album was really how much it would differ from, say, a White Stripes release.

The answer is not much, however that’s no bad thing. There’s little in the way of surprises here, White’s trademark yelp and spiky guitar work are deeply imprinted on all thirteen tracks, but lessons have obviously been learned from the Stripes’ slightly disappointing post-Elephant releases.

Early standout track Sixteen Saltines (below) may as well have Meg on drums, so heavily does it follow the old “guitar riff, boom, crash, boom, crash, boom, crash” blueprint, but it’s still an excellent song and one that will work well on the live stage. Speaking of which, perhaps the most novel idea on display in White’s latest incarnation is the way the songs are performed live. When he appeared on Jools Holland’s show a few months ago, half the songs were backed by an all-male band, half by an all-female one. It was an interesting contrast and you can decide which one you prefer below!

Until White tours this summer though, I can thoroughly recommend Blunderbuss to all White Stripes fans. As the infamous Thai phrase says, it’s “same same, but different”.