Jack White – Blunderbuss
First things first: Sixteen Saltines is rubbish. It’s Blue Orchid without the blues. It’s Seven Nation Army without a riff. It’s an incredibly awkward attempt at The Obligatory Hit Single, and less rewarding with every listen.
Luckily it gets better, the album (in case you’re wondering) is not a return to the blistering delta blues of the early White Stripes. It’s more Raconteurs; calmer, smoother, and the more restrained moments (like the title track and ‘other single’ Love Interruption) are some of the best. Love Interruption is perhaps the anti-Saltines; quiet, unassuming, guaranteed to grow on you. Despite his new colour scheme, White appears to be drifting away from the blues, and towards early rock ‘n’ roll and R&B; listen to those lovely the doo-wop backing vocals of I’m Shakin’ (a Little Willie John cover, and a standout track).
There’s not much to surprise fans on Blunderbuss, but plenty to please. Like the production: recorded in analog, the editing process involved Jack cutting-and-sticking analog tape himself, with a razor blade.
It’s a bit eccentric, a bit anachronistic, but shows an endearing dedication to craftsmanship. A bit like Jack White.
Tristram Fane Saunders