Time Out Sydney

The solo white stripe makes an eclectic, impressive debut

Jack White does not think love lifts him up where he belongs. If the tracks on White’s first solo album are anything to go by, love will break your will to live and eventually crush you beneath a spiked heel. The women in Jack White’s songs are violent, amoral, manipulative, cruel succubi out to ruin his life – and he loves it.

When news of the final split of the White Stripes broke in early 2011, the collective wail from music fans could likely be heard from the moon, but on Blunderbuss, we are rewarded with a fresh fix of the fuzzed- out guitar and shrieking vocals.

Cast your fears aside, Blunderbuss is excellent. In parts it remains faithful to the garage rock of White’s earlier work, but also dips into early rock’n’roll territory with a whole lot of blues piano and a little slide guitar thrown in for good measure.

He gets most of the rocking angst out of his system with ‘Sixteen Saltines’ and ‘I’m Shakin’’. For the rest of the album, White’s inimitable guitar work takes a back seat to a host of piano-led tracks like ‘Hypocritical Kiss’, ‘Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy’ and ‘Trash Tongue Talker’ that explore his softer, less raucous side. Yes, he has one. The gentle title track, ‘Blunderbuss’, goes full country, which was an inevitable step considering White is now based in Nashville, where he produced Time Out darling Lanie Lane’s single, ‘Ain’t Hungry’.

He goes back to basics with ‘Freedom at 21’, a simple, driving rock song and then follows it up with 'Love Interruption’, which in spite of some pretty macabre imagery, manages to be surprisingly tender, helped in no small part but the beautiful, dusky vocals of Ruby Amanfu and some well-placed clarinet. There is little to no romance to be found in White’s outlook on love – brutality and destruction are more the order of the day – but somehow he makes being gutted, run over and having your fingers slammed in a door sound like a profound declaration of devotion.

White takes a final bow with ‘Take Me with You when You Go’, looping full circle back to fuzzy guitar solos and close female backing vocals, but kept light with just a touch of country fiddle.

Now that he is out on his own, Jack White is sampling the full buffet of genres, taking the bits he likes and turning them into a compelling musical cocktail.

Blunderbuss is out through Sony Music.

Want more gigs & concerts? Sign up to our Weekend Planner

Updated on 17 Jun 2015.

By Emily Lloyd-Tait   |  

Jack White: Blunderbuss video

Out on the Weekend

Out on the Weekend

Celebrate Americana with yankee-lovin' beats, eats and booze from Porteno, Mary's and more at this new family-friendly festival

World on a Plate

World on a Plate

Variety is the spice of life... taste your way around the world as Sydney's most culturally diverse (and free!) food truck comes to Martin Place

Melbourne Cup Cruise

Melbourne Cup Cruise

Slow and steady wins the race... Cruise your way into Melbourne Cup and celebrate race day on the boat that rocks

NYE Above the Harbour

NYE Above the Harbour

Front-row seats to harbour fireworks, five-star dining, unlimited drinks, a dessert garden and an open-air dancefloor... this is how you do New Year's Eve in Sydney

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get the Time Out weekend planner. Straight to your inbox, every Thursday.
Read more