Album Review: The Raconteurs — Help Us, Stranger

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The new album from The Raconteurs proves yet one more time what a generational talent Jack White is.

Help Us Stranger teams him up once again with Brendan Benson (vocals, guitar), Jack Lawrence (bass guitar), and Patrick Keeler (drums), and this magic combination brings out the supreme best from all of them.

Keeler’s drums, in particular, take this album to a whole new level, infusing the tracks with unstoppable momentum and musicality. His synergy with the violin on the last track “Thoughts and Prayers” is notably jaw-dropping.

The songwriting from Benson and White has a diverse range that assimilates and transcends the genre’s tropes. “Only Child” is just one example of how catchy and witty they can be, with their rock even rising to the level of high art. A clear example is the aforementioned “Thoughts and Prayers.”

The band’s all-around genius is especially exhibited on “Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying),” which takes a melancholy lyric and surrounds it with remarkably uplifting music. The sympathetic listener comes away supercharged to enjoy life at its fullest.

The Raconteurs rock in way that is rarely achieved by other bands, with the indisputable proof found in completely unhinged tracks like “Don’t Bother Me” and “Live a Lie” and “What’s Yours is Mine” and (my album favorite, with White’s trademark whoops of joy) “Sunday Driver.”

Go for a long drive and turn up the volume. One of the best albums of the year. Connaisseurs of exquisite guitar sounds will find much to feast on here.

Thoughts?

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