The Raconteurs

Consolers of the Lonely (Third Man / Warner Bros.)

Phases & Stages

The Raconteurs

Consolers of the Lonely (Third Man/Warner Bros.)

Written in only 10 days, the Raconteurs' 2006 debut, Broken Boy Soldiers, was a snapshot of the quartet's potential. With follow-up Consolers of the Lonely, recorded in Nashville and rushed into stores following its completion in the first week of March, everything coalesces, beginning with the caterwauling one-two crunch of the opening title track and single "Salute Your Solution," which find frontmen Jack White and balladeer Brendan Benson ricocheting leads with sweltering fervor. As the Greenhornes rhythm section holds down the back line, White explores his eccentricities, resulting in a grab bag of Zeppelin folk ("Old Enough"), Icky Thump ("Five on the Five"), and dust bowl blues ("Top Yourself"), while Benson-led epic "The Switch and the Spur" melds Morricone with the Moody Blues. A cover of Terry Reid's "Rich Kid Blues" captures both leaders at their best before a storybook ending, the Dylan-esque "Carolina Drama." There are blunders ("Attention," "You Don't Understand Me"), but Lonely consoles with the strongest and most diverse album from any of these raconteurs in years. (The Raconteurs level Stubb's over two nights, Friday and Saturday, May 2-3.)

***.5

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