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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 12 April 2009
Well done guys. A very special album that manages to have so much of what is great about Jack White without sounding like more of the same. I never grow bored of it and it often makes me smile. There are also a couple of the most striking real-life love (without a hint of slush) songs on this album that frequently raise a tear. They alone convince me of the brilliance behind this album. Go on...at that price...do yourself a favour!
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on 31 December 2008
Should get six stars when I can only give it five! A powerful mix to appeal to those with a taste for a spendid blend of rock/country/folk....with more than a little hint of the 'White Stripes' perhaps a dash of Frank Black this is the Raconteurs at their best - well until their next album perhaps. Lock and load and blow those eardrums away..enjoy.
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on 8 March 2010
Background

Up until a couple of months ago, I had never heard of the Raconteurs. The band are a four piece arrancement fronted by former White Stripes vocalist Jack White. Consolers of the Lonely is the bands second album and follows in the footsteps of their 2006 offering, Broken Boy Soldiers.

Album Specifics

The total running time for this album is 55 minutes and 30 seconds. In total, there are an impressive 14 tracks to listen to . The album includes the singles. Salute your Solution, Many Shades of Black, Old Enough and Consolers of the Lonely, all of which scanalously in my opinion have failed to make the UK top 40 chartts although this album did make it to number 8 in the charts when released in 2008.

Album Tracks

Consolers of the Lonely (3:25)

A nice gentle introduction into the album. White shows off his distinctive vocal abilities. There is a very catchy beat to this number, rap like lyrics and some decent guitar rifts.

Verdict : A catchy opener to the album which sets the tone nicely for what is to follow.

Score : 8/10

Salute Your Solution (2:59)

Following in the same theme as Consolers of the Lonely, Salute Your Solution is another catchy song that will stick in the mind for a long time after listening to it. Although it is short at a touch inder 3 minutes, it has still been broken down into three sections. The first and third sections of the song is very rocky, giving you plenty of opportunity to bounce around the room where the middle bridge gives you a chance to catch your breath, slowing down with White coming out with the catchy line 'And I got what I got all despite you'.

Verdict : This is a classic fast/slow/fast track which will have you reciting the middle part of the song in your head time and time again without even noticing.

Score: 8/10

You Don't Understand Me (4:53)

This is one of my favourite tracks on the album and is a lot more mellow than the previous two. Starting off with a nice bit of piano playing, the track can almost be classed as a balad but without the cheesiness of a Westlife track. I challenge anyone to not like this song, it really is lovely.

Verdict : This song is beautiful, if it was released by a more high profile band it would make number one for sure. This track shows the band are not a one trick pony and can switch musical styles mid album and still be capable of delivering the goods.

Score: 10/10

Old Enough (3:57)

Yet another change of musical style. This track starts with the vocal and acoustic guitar and reminds me of the 90s track, Young at Heart by the Bluebells. This would probably by classed as easy listening compared to the majority of the album and definitely the closest thing to pop music on the album.

Verdict : This track is very listenable but is probably one of the weaker ones on the album. I think that statement really reflects on how good the other songs are rather than how bad this one is.

Score : 7/10

The Switch and the Spur (4:25)

This is another quality songs. This is the third mellow track in a row and by now you'll be forgiven for thinking that the whole album is full of slow relaxing tracks and that the first 2 were just thrown in there for effect. This song has some very impressive trumpet playing all the way through it. This is one of those tracks where you will remember the tune over the lyrics.

Verdict : This is a good song, although you'll probably be humming the tune more than singing the words as its got an extremely catchy section in it. My son even asked me when I was listing to it if it was the song that went like.....(he began humming the tune).

Score : 8/10

Hold Up (3:26)

This track takes us back to the more rocky style of music of the early tracks. I love this track and can see this going down well live as the crowd chant the line 'Hold Up' several times in a row. This track reminds me of the Rolling Stones which is strange as I don't like the stones but do like this.

Verdict : Great track for singing along to. The placement of this track on the album is perfect.. After three slower tracks, this really gets you back into the mood for bouncing up and down.

Score : 9/10

Top Yourself (4:25)

After this track we are half way through the album and White is singing a song about ending it all. Hopefully by this stage you will be enjoying the album as much as I do. Considering the title of this song, it is rather surprising that this is another mellow offering. This is a very catchy song but I wouldnt class it as one of the better tracks on the album.

Verdict : This is a very listenable track but if you are short on time, this may be a track that you skip over as it doesnt really deviate from the first note to the last.

Score : 7/10

Many Shades of Black (4:24)

This is my favourite track on the album. How this track failed to even chart in the UK is beyond me and is a sad reflection on the UK charts at the current time. I challenge anyone to resist singing along with the chorus line here. The vocals are simply stunning and with the return of the trumpet, this track just works so well.

Verdict : This is one of my favourite songs from any group at the moment, I think it is that good. This is the champion track of the album in my opinion. Even if you decide not to listen to the whole album, this track deserves a listen.

Score : 10/10 STAR TRACK

Five on the Five (3:33)

This is the heaviest track on the album but is still very listenable. Probably not one you'll be singing along to due to the speed of the lyrics. This one is more guitar and drum orientated than most of the other tracks once again showing the flexibility to change styles mid album.

Verdict : This may be another one on the skip list if you are short on time but it still is a very good track. Its a bit more diverse than the rest of the tracks but I dont think thats a bad thing.

Score : 7/10

Attention (3:40)

In my opinion, this is probably the weakest track on the album. It reminds me of the 70s style rock I used to see when watching Beavis and Butthead back in the early 90s. It is an ok track but its not dynamic enough for my liking.

Verdict : Well its very rare for an album to be great all the way through, this track slightly lets the album down but its still not woefully bad.

Score : 6/10

Pull this Blanket Off (1:59)

At 1 minute 59, this track almost doesnt seem worth it. In my opinion it works really well. Its another slow song with no real structure in terms of veres and a chorus, it just starts at the beginning and finishes at the end. I actually think its a clever track to include at this stage of the album. So far we've had a mixture of heavy rock tracks and slower balad style tracks and now this track has been included to keep you interested in the rest of the album as you just dont know what to expect next.

Verdict : I like this track a lot, its one you can sing along to without having any musical talent whatsoever which is good in my case.

Score 8/10

Rich Kids Blues (4:34)

This is another of my favourite tracks on the album. This track contains everything we've heard before on this album in the one track. A slow start gets you thinking its another balad style track until a minute into the song when the guitars kick in and the tempo is lifted, just when the rockers are in full flow, the track slows again, only to speed up for the last 1 minute or so. This track really resembles a rollercoaster and is one not to be missed, as with Many Shades of Black, this track should be listened to at all costs, it really is a classic in my eyes.

Verdict : This is the type of song that would get played during an encore at a concert as it has something in it for everyone. The Elton John cigarette lighter brigade would love the start whereas the bouncing up and down rocker type people would love the faster bits. As for me, I love it all, its definitely in my top 3 tracks on the album.

Score : 10/10

These Stones Will Shout (3:54)

This track is another which starts off with just an acousitc guitar and vocals. to be honest, it struggles to get going, almost as if the band are starting to run out of material to complete the album. This song to me, sounds like something they probably came up with at a jamming session and decided to put it on the album without any fine tuning. Its still listenable but its not the greatest track by a long way.

Verdict : Along with Attention, this is the weakest track on the album. It doesnt really flow and its faults are highly evident when mixing whith the other high quality tracks on this album.

Carolina Drama (5:55)

Well we finally reach the final track on the album and after the let down of the previous track, this album is in real danger of ending on a bit of a low. Luckily Carolina Drama ensures this is not the case. This is the longest track on the album and tells the story of family living in Carolina and how their lifes are troubled. This is a very poweful ending to the album as White bellows out yet another classic leaving you ready to hit the repeat button and play the whole thing over and over again.

Verdict : A great ending to a great album, this song is so well written and it is worth paying attention to the words, This track does contain strong language so its best not to listen with the kids in earshot.

The Album Verdict

As I said at the start of the review, I hadn't heard of this group until a few months ago and was never a fan of the White Stripes so I had a totally open mind when listening to this for the first time. Over those last few months, this album has become the one I've listened to the most out of all my music.

The Raconteurs are not a high profile group and will not get the mainstream exposure I think they deserve which is a shame. Thanks to Spotify, groups like this will start to get more exposure which can only be good for the future of music.

Before you decide whether to buy this album or not, I would recommend you have a listen via Spotify (its free and legal if you are not aware what it is). That way, like me you can listen first and then make your mind up.

In my opinion this is a 10/10 album, probably as good as anything I've heard in the last 5 years and thats saying something. I'm very hard to please where music is concerned.
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on 3 April 2008
You have to admit that these days bands come and go, record labels constantly on the look out for the next big thing heavily promote the first single, the first album then shun the band and let them fair for themselves. The result, loads of very similar indie/pop/new rave outfits that offer not a lot and don't move you in the way bands used to. Record labels playing it safe in a new world they are struggling to survive in.

Jack Black on the otherhand has always flown in the face of modern day conformity. When record labels were looking for bands to produce bland indie guitar rock, Jack White delivered hard blues rock in Elephant and White Blood Cells, dropped his guitar in favour of organ and Steinway piano for Get Behind Me Satan. He then picked up his guitar and delivered a blistering blues/rock album in Icky Thump playing his JB Hutto Montgomery Airline right to the limit.

I was slightly dissapointed with Broken Boy Soldiers (a bit bland and whimsical) but with Consolers of the Lonely (apologies for taking a while to get to the point) you almost has a continuation and evolution of Icky Thump. 14 tracks offering rock, blues, hard rock and 70s'esque prog. Yes it's a varied mixture of an album, but thats it's brilliance, no song sounds out of place. It sounds like Jack has found a new environment in which he can let himself go and do what he does best: Fly in the face of conformity, stick two fingers up to the record labels- No Promotion, No single and deliver a truely brilliant album.

Oh and Brendon Benson is also along for the ride, but this is clearly Jack's album.
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on 19 April 2008
I am not a raging fan of the White Stripes more a case of respect for JW having the "jewels" to do his thing! However, if you are a fan of the White Stripes then you will like this but not in the same way. The Raconteurs first album was not influence greatly by JW and as a result was very accessible. This album obviously has greater input from JW but not to the totally avant garde style of the White Stripes albums. That said it has an edgy feel to it and you are greeted every so often by sound that shoots in from leftfield and leaves you thinking what the hells was that... you never know what is round the next corner that is the magic of JW's influence on this band and it makes it an exciting album to listen to. Do I recommend it, Hell yes! As this album falls somewhere between the White Stripes output and the Raconteurs first offering.
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on 5 September 2008
I never usually get albums on their day of release; what I normally do is wait for reviews and then go out and buy the album but with Consolers of the Lonely this was not the case. I applaud the raconteurs for bypassing the music press and just letting the fans enjoy the music without some high almighty critic clouding their better judgement. This album is another belter from Jack and co. The album starts off with the hypnotic groove of the near title track Consoler of the Lonely topped off with White's trademark solo we have all come to love. Before you have time to digest the opening song Salute Your Solution bursts in with The Raconteurs heaviest rock songs to date with interlude of a psychedellic keys giving you a moments breather before storming back into gear. You Don't Understand Me is a piano driven number reminisant of the 1960's. Old Enough has a Celtic influence first seen on Icky Thump with Prickly Thorn but with Brenden there the song has more melody and flow. Switch and the Spur and Many Shades of Black are more Benson orientated featuring brass sections first used by White on Conquest, once again Switch and the Spur has this psychedellic riff with lyrics concerning riders hallucinating and souls who trespass against us will be stung dead on site. Hold Up is a most punk like track on the album, while Top Yourself is pure blues to the full and one of the stand out tracks of the album. Five on the Five reworked from the 2006 tour to give fuller sound and Attention illustrates the talent of Little Jack's bass playing which on this album has been harvested more from the debut album. Pull This Blanket is essetially the weakest track and These Stones will Shout does sound like a B side but I'm nitpicking. For me the highlight is the last track Carolina Drama, as this album starts off brilliantly it closes with a story of murder with Jacks narrative being somewhat reminisant of Nick Cave's style of writing. Its just a beutiful song about such a dark matter. Simply this album is a must have and cements Jack White's postion as the greatest musician of our generation.
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on 2 July 2008
In my earlier review of the first Raconteurs album, I said that I couldn't pick an outstanding track because they were all equally good. That effort was a solid and concise album - 10 short songs, plenty of ideas, and essentially it was veering towards pop rock. It sounded very different to The Raconteurs that I first heard at Leeds Festival in 2006. That band was awesome - big sound, tight performance, audacious musicianship... and on this record the Raconteurs have come to represent on record what they do as a live band.

Consolers of the Lonely keeps a lot of the pop sensibilities that the earlier effort possessed (vocal harmonies, singalong choruses), but it is very much more rooted in traditional American rock n' roll... and by that I mean blues rock and country rock. It looks like Jack White's influence has been allowed to develop a little further, with songs like "You Don't Understand Me" and "Top Yourself" sounding very much like White Stripes songs - but with more instrumentation.

This is a solid album - tight, inventive, passionate - but unlike it's predecessors it does contain some standout tracks, and as a result that means there are also some weaker tracks. "Consoler of the Lonely" and "Salute Your Solution" start the record in a storming fashion, but I tend to find that a kind of lethargy sets in for a long while after that. Some inspired playing still crops up from time to time, but I could take or leave all the other tracks - with the exception of the last track, "Carolina Drama". That one stands out a mile. Awesome performance on Jack White's part. He delivers each line with passion, and creates a beautifully visual story, voicing the parts of several characters - the boy, the boyfriend, the mother, the little brother - in a way I first heard in Eminem's "Stan", and last heard in Ghostface Killah's "Maxine" (- I know!); it's a real goosebumps moment.

Elsewhere I find "Many Shades of Black" to be pompous and overblown, and definitely the weakest offering on the album. Also disappointingly, White's voice sounds off-key in "Five On The Five", a song that I have a much better recording of from the band's appearance at the Manchester Apollo.

So in summation, I think this record could have been trimmed down a little. I sure am thankful for the songs that standout, and must admit that the other tracks are worthwhile in general - whether it be for a certain horn part, a guitar solo, a drum fill or a vocal harmony - I just don't think it's one that I'll return to as often as I did to "Broken Boy Soldiers". I can't help thinking that the brilliance of "Consoler of the Lonely", "Salute Your Solution" and "Carolina Drama" only serve to make the other songs pale in comparison.

Best album of the year? I doubt it. Let's just say I'll be disappointed if I don't hear a better record this year.
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on 2 September 2008
I found the white stripes interesting, but wasn't particularly mad about them. Haven't listened to much of the first Raconteurs album either, but I saw them on BBC2 Culture show a couple of months ago and was mesmerised - amazing musicians.
As most people point out - this is a varied album, and some are instantly brilliant (Many shades of black, Carlolina Story, The switch and the spur) and some take a while to grow on you( and personally I find White's voice a bit, well, irritating sometimes, whereas Benson has a much easier (and very good) classic rock voice), but it is a very, very good album indeed...
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on 26 December 2008
While many people found their first album two dimensional with few decent tracks this disc has prooved to be a great hit, with almost every song possessing a point of interest. Carolina Drama has a simple guitar chord progression, with a great lyrical masterpeice on it creating an intricate tale, You Don't Understand Me has an immense piano riff, delicate, well measured composition. Some other tracks are simply metal dreams, riding of a wave of guitar. An excellent CD. Buy it.
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on 30 November 2008
Broken Boy Soldier was good but this is in a different league.It progresses beautifully from the debut. Live , the songs on this are quite wondrous and if you ever see them live the idea that it's just Jack White with a backing band is blown out of the water. One of the best bands around.

And if there weren't enough reasons to adore JW , I doubt very much if I'd have discovered Brendan Benson, The Greenhornes and Blanche had it not been for The Raconteurs .
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