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But it's important to remember that, not only was the split apparently amicable (his ex sings back-up on three songs here), but that White has never been a confessional songwriter in the conventional sense. Despite his deep devotion to the blues – that most ‘authentic’ of musical genres – he's a conceptual art-rocker at heart, inhabiting his own unique crossroads between theatrical artifice and bloody-minded sincerity.
There's a sense throughout Blunderbuss – trust him to choose such an archaic weapon – that White is positively revelling in the role of the wronged lover. So you never get the sense that he's being entirely serious; he's too eccentric and machismo-camp to suggest otherwise. It's what defines him as an artist and it's why he may be the only great rock superstar of recent years.
While this isn't a major musical reinvention, it certainly develops his trademark synthesis of stripped-back garage-rock and Americana. Despite his guitar God reputation, White – ever the contrarian – relegates his axe to a supporting role, favouring instead a sort of aquatic country-blues dominated by Rhodes electric piano and the punk-Liberace glissandos of pianist Brooke Waggoner. She's part of a small group of musicians who never detract from White's minimalist aesthetic – Meg may be gone, but the primal rhythms remain – and who hit upon a particularly delightful sound on the breezily Kinks-esque Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy and the compact mini-opera Take Me With You When You Go.
During those moments when White's guitar does come to the fore, it fits and squalls as though it's having a breakdown, although he still swaggers with the best of them on the likes of Sixteen Saltines and on a raucous cover of Little Willie John's jittery hoodoo, I'm Shakin'.
After all these years, there's still nobody quite like him.
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