Following spectacular success with The White Stripes and The Raconteurs, 2012 sees the debut of Jack White as a solo artist, releasing his album 'Blunderbuss' in April 2012. Read our track-by-track review of the album below.
Opening the album with a blast of prog-rock, sixties-influenced rock and roll, melodies mix with layered, heavy production. Jack White's distinctive vocal stands centrepiece, reminding the listener why he's held in such high regard in the music world.
One of the album's heavier moments, reminiscent of The White Stripes at their noisiest - but all the while in control of their sound. Less drum- heavy than his previous work, 'Sixteen Saltines' cleverly recalls White's past while at the same time showcasing his new Nashville sound.
'Freedom At 21'
A touch of cock-rock is evident in this epic slow-burner with an enormous guitar solo and retro-sounding vocals. An early favourite.
A duet with Nashville singer Ruby Amanfu, this is slower still and the first point on the album where the country and western influence rears its head. Classic sounding stuff, with Amanfu's sweet vocals complimenting White's rock and roll drawl nicely.
As a solo artist, this project lets White take the full spotlight for the first time in his career, and it's moments like this where his star quality shines. More country-influenced sounds, but this time White's vocals are pushed to the forefront over the somewhat muted instrumentation.
'Hypocritical Kiss' opens with a vaudville piano before launching into another blast of White Stripes-esque rock. The piano steers the mid-tempo track, and the album's high quality continues.
'Weep Themselves To Sleep'
One of the album's grandest moment, with a clear cinematic inspiration. Reminiscent of classic gunslinger movies and entirely amazing, 'Weep Themselves To Sleep' mixes the sounds of Queen at their most stadium-friendly with the drama of Panic! At The Disco.
If you're going to take inspiration - take it from the best. Here, Elvis elements creep onto the album, as White repositions himself as the future king of rock and roll. Classic sounding rock and roll with hint of doo-wop. Messy, but fun.
'Trash Tongue Talker'
Jive influences appear , and we might go so far as to use the word 'honky tonk'. 'Trash Tongue Talker' ends up sounding like and Elton John ivory encore, and while it isn't our favourite on the album, adds an extra element of fun to the record.
'Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy'
Clearly White's time working with Raconteurs partner Brendan Benson has rubbed off, as he borrows elements of Benson's trademark jaunty pop-folk sounds. Great banjo work on this country and western party tune.
'I Guess I Should Go To Sleep'
After a Twin Peaks-esque opening, the track breaks into a mid-tempo shanty singalong, which is destined to become and anthem for drunk men with their arms around each other at the end of a night out.
'On And On And On'
After our one listen, this was the standout for us. Highly cinematic and led by a stirring cello, the track sounds like a proper climax to an album, with stunning harmonies and a sense of the familiar. Warm, fuzzy and brilliant.
'Take Me With You When You Go'
Closing the album on a rambling jam, only Jack White could hold together the sheer number of musicians and melodies at work on this finale. Drawing together every influence and sound heard previously on the album, pianos, guitars and female vocalists combine to create a gloriously controlled and racous album end.
Oddly enough, we started listening to this album hoping to hear a handful of future club-friendly hits in the vein of 'Seven Nation Army' or 'Steady As She Goes'. By the end, we were charmed and warmed by the country and westen influences and feeling very foolish for hoping that White would simply repeat his previous successes.
A spectacular solo debut from an established musician, 'Blunderbuss' more than secures White's position as one of the world's biggest rock stars, whether alone or with a band. One of 2012's finest rock albums.