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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
The Raconteurs
Consolers Of The Lonely
Warner Bros.

Rating: 7.2/10 ?


April 23, 2008
"Consoler of the Lonely," opener of The Raconteurs' sophomore effort of the same name (collectively speaking), epitomizes a band comprised of established musicians with a single album under their belts. The track is three songs spliced together with tempo shifts that very nearly works but doesn't quite make it. The problem with the track is that, along with some very "Icky Thump" moments, the various pieces never really gel. In truth Consolers of the Lonely as a whole begs for a consistency that at times isn't achieved, likely due in large part to its players, who are musicians with different talents to offer, not to mention varying time schedules.

The Raconteurs consists of solo songwriter Brendan Benson, garage-blues innovator Jack White III (of The White Stripes), and the rhythm section of The Greenhornes, Patrick Keeler and Jack L.J. Lawrence. A lineup like this hurts not for its lack of talent; rather, it necessitates a discovery of where the talents of one musician ends and another begins.

The dilemma Benson and White face is that Benson sounds awkward playing the part of White's boisterous mouthpiece and White gets lost in Benson's troubled-relationship propelled charm. This predicament is readily seen on the overblown first single "Salute Your Solution" in relation to should-be single "You Don't Understand Me." The former is a sonorous mess that finds Benson aping White in a breathless vocal exchange, while the latter is a ballad that presents White's potential as a backing musician, right down to the harmonizing vocals.

The trade-off may cut the band down to friend-driven side-project size. And depending on your taste, either White or Benson should act as the band's proper front man. However, The Raconteurs have taken pains to avoid just that: finding a home in Nashville away from Benson and White's Detroit and The Greenhornes' Cincinnati, avoiding typical album setup time in favor of getting music to fans, and skirting industry format release inconsistencies.

The Raconteurs do mesh as a band, most often when integrating white blues and southern-fried rock into their repertoire (think The Black Crowes lost on the Appalachian trail). They thrive on ballads working a consistent tempo, and, although they do not want to be condensed down to mere uniformity, "Old Enough," "Many Shades of Black," "Carolina Drama," and even the southwestern mariachi ramble of "The Switch And The Spur" provide enough variety so as to be proportionate without being tedious. With plenty of talent, the Raconteurs have a unique sound; they only need to spend more time trimming it down.

Reviewed by Patrick Gill
In in a state of suspended adolescence, Patrick Gill can be found hiding away in northwest Ohio, where he spends most of his time rediscovering shoegaze, noise pop, britpop, slowcore, sadcore, lo-fi, neo-psychedelia, post-rock, trad rock, and trip-hop music. In his spare time he teaches college English.

See other reviews by Patrick Gill

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