Posts Tagged ‘Blunderbuss’

I haven’t reviewed an album in what must be knocking on two years. This tragic hiatus from the world of amateur music journalism can largely be attributed to the fact that I haven’t even bought a CD in half of that time. Jack White Blunderbuss may well have been my last purchase to date. Jesus!

Rather, these days my bank balance at ATMs tends to read “don’t make plans you’re broke” a la Hard Fi – Cash Machine. In spite of my economic woes, I cobbled together enough disposable income at the end of last month to live for the weekend and make a long-awaited addition to my record collection. On recommendation from my brother I went for Franz Ferdinand’s fourth installment entitled Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action (RTRWRA).

Right all round - Franz Ferdinand's third album.

Right all round – Franz Ferdinand’s third album.

Ok, first things first, I acknowledge that my review has arrived a little late – RTRWRA was released in August 2013. Nevertheless, this record has gone so far to rekindling my love for scratchy guitar music that I believe it merits a mention on this space!

On first impressions, I agree whole-heartedly with Tonedeth in that this isn’t a record that will blow you away. This is a record to blow your whole bloody house and all its content away! No, that is an exaggeration too far – in all honesty RTRWRA is a typical Franz Ferdinand album; nothing more, nothing less.

Contra to the way the old saying goes, Alex Kapranos et al. keep managing to reinvent the wheel… but rather well at that. The Franz wheel is now an embellished one; featuring sublime traction courtesy of their second album You Could Have It So Much Better and sparkling alloys afforded by their stonking third record Tonight.

All in all, RTRWRA is a classic 10-song serving of indie rock – a brand of music which any reader of Riot on the Radio will know I am more of a sucker to than a baby is a dummy. ‘Music for the dance floor’ or ‘for a night of hedonism’ as Free Girl in Paris so elegantly yet accurately puts it. Never is there a dull moment, from the fruity twangs of Fresh Strawberries to the incessantly probing Bullet. Textbook ‘This Fire’-esque opening riffs are omnipresent in tunes such as Treason! Animals in contrast to the gorgeous slow-burner that is The Universe Expanded. As A. D. Elliott states over at ‘The Remarkables’ – every song is worthy of a repeat.

The Glaswegian quartet always had a little too much style and originality to survive the post-2008 cull of indie bands. Whereas The Horrors tweaked their sound and acts like The Vaccines arose to target the teenage fanbase; Franz have just stuck to the same formula. And why not? After all, this is a tried and tested formula that ‘took out’ the nation in 2004!

As if I haven’t sung their praises enough already, FF are signed to Domino Records, the label responsible for (amongst others) Arctic Monkeys, Hot Chip, Villagers and Animal Collective. What’s more, lead singer Kapranos produced the third album, Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, for another favourite outfit of mine, The Cribs. And to wrap it all off, I’m reliably informed by Wikipedia that the Franz frontman spends his time outside of recording/touring in a carpentry workshop crafting ‘abstract furniture’. Hence, on the basis of this triple whammy, I wish to boldy proclaim Alex Kapranos as a ‘treasure’ – a status that I recently assigned to Alex Turner.

Apparently, and unsurprisingly, RTRWRA is equally good live. Me for one, I can’t wait to sample it. Right on!

Jack White (né John Anthony Gillis, 9/7/1975)

Apologies – cheap, age-old tactic to grab your attention in the title – Jack White is OF COURSE the latter of the two suggestions! This article is not an argumentative piece but a commendation of White’s ever-growing musical messiah-ness. It is also an article with little structure, so please forgive the forthcoming messiness.

White, a powder-faced peculiarity born in Detroit, is a natural talent to behold. Lyrics literally seep from his rosy lips, beautifully in sync with his bluesy inventions. Thus far, Jack is the ghostly character whom has written 10 albums in the last 13 years, producing & contributing towards countless others. His utter ingenuity literally pales others into significance. How can such a music-orientated man sleep when his left-brain is constantly ticking? 

White ranks alongside, if not at the top of, a talented pile of contemporary songwriters including Dave Grohl, Alex Turner, Thom Yorke et al – this generation’s Weller, Strummer, Dylan and Cash. Like Grohl [Nirvana/Them Crooked Vultures] and Turner [Last Shadow Puppets], White has mastered the art of multi-tasking himself with side projects The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. Oh, have I so far failed to mention his breakthrough act THE WHITE STRIPES, a six-album partnership he forged with ‘sister’ and ex-wife Meg White, whose surname Jack admirably adopted?

The Fly (music magazine) recently awarded Blunderbuss, White’s debut solo record, a 3.5/5 star rating: a filthy insult from what some claim is a ‘shit-rag’ itself. Get real or otherwise get retailed next to Andrex and other bum-wipes!

Also recently, I read a funny snippet in The Guide (The Guardian newspaper’s weekend pullout). On the back page was a factfile reading as follows:

Name: Jack Anthony White

Famous for: Dum dum dum dum der der der

Despite everything, The White Stripes are still synonymous with that one opening bassline to Seven Nation Army.

Thankfully, Blunderbuss has been Jack’s opportunity to finally show the world a figment of his current conscience, post break-up with Karen Elson“I won’t let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me” Jack states firmly on first single Love Interruption, I believe him. Sixteen Saltines retains the White Stripes’ ginormous pomp whilst I’m Shaking brilliantly irritates with its cheeky buzzing bee riff. In terms of Blunderbuss though, the aforementioned couple are anomaliesHip (Eponymous) Poor Boy is a more typical cute tale featuring beautiful keys. 

Blunderbuss is misnamed. It’s no stonker but my word is it a charmer.

Jack White (III) we salute you! Thankyou for everything you have so far impressed upon us, continue to do so forever more. 

Any thought on Alabama Shakes‘ debut performance on Later Live with Jools

Quite an individual style I thought… To me they looked like a group of misfits who had converged only because of music. Lead singer Brittany Howard is a male version of Lenny Kravitz. Bassist Zac Cockrell looks like a Magic Number who’s recently returned from a shopping spree at H&M, or simply – Zak Dingle off Emmerdale. Meanwhile, the woolly hat perched upon drummer Steve Johnson’s scalp makes him look like a small-time bandit.

On Hold On, Brittany Howard’s gob has no limits to its aperture! The rubbery thing just keeps stretching to the point where you could shove a baseball down there. Or any other sized ball or object of equivalent dimensions. Her voice has such power and soul. Combined with guitarist Heath Fogg’s (what a name, incidentally)  jazzy, groovy and bluesy twangs, the Shakes are a unique recipe

The Guardian spoke to the Shakes a few weeks back, see here for full interview.  Candidates for 2012’s best breakthrough?

‘I bring a little bit of that punk with me. The energy, man; I can still thrash. I can’t play the guitar very well but I can fake it’ – Brittany Howard.