|Rating: 4 / 5
Reviewer: Michelle Kennedy
Jack White may well be rock and roll’s greatest trickster—a shape shifter of the highest order.
The White Stripes were always a deceptively simple band; accessible and ever straightforward. But diving into their music, audiences were treated with a depth and precision often lacking in their garage-rock revivalist brethren. Blunderbuss is no different. On first listen it has something for everyone and is even easy to dismiss as slightly unfocused. But that’s where Jack White the trickster comes in and you know, deep inside your musical heart that it can’t be that simple; that it can’t just be written off.
On second, third, fourth, thirtieth…hundredth listen, White seems to be telling his listeners a little secret, sharing a little gift of all his musical treats. Jack White: perfect pop technician (‘Freedom at 21′ and the wonderful, wry first single ‘Love Interrupted’); rock god (‘Hypocritical Kiss’ and ‘On and On and On’); and trashy, ballsy blues revivalist (‘I Guess I Should Go To Sleep’ and ‘I’m Shakin”). ‘I’m Shakin” and ‘Trash Tongue Talker’ are two of the album’s grimiest and strongest while the title track never lets us forget that for as brilliantly as White can play guitar he can also write the fuck outta some lyrics.
The album’s opener ‘Missing Pieces’ is the only blip on a otherwise wonderful album. It feels like a bit of a misstep as an opener and hints at some electronic experimentation, which is interesting, but makes for an odd first impression.
Blunderbuss is everything it needs to be: crisp and clean when it should be and balls to the wall the rest of the time. This album is White’s love letter to all his musical predecessors, influences and taste makers and by the end of these 13 songs he has not only paid homage to them, but set himself apart as one of the few innovators in rock music today.