Shining the light on The Raconteurs' great new comeback album

Categories:  Music    The Arts
Friday, September 6th, 2019 at 11:42 AM
Shining the light on The Raconteurs' great new comeback album by Rhiannon Pushchak

It’s always a surprise when a band who hasn’t had an album out in over 10 years announces a comeback. It’s even more surprising when that comeback effort ends up being great.

Jack White and Brendan Benson’s band The Raconteurs (known for the ever-popular alternative-rock track “Steady, As She Goes” from 2006) dropped their newest effort, “Help Us Stranger,” this past June, a decade after “Consolers of the Lonely,” and it’s possibly the group’s best release yet. The record’s Who-esque rock jams make it the perfect album for the closing summer.

As if the record’s obvious 60s-70s rock influence wasn’t enough to make this a strong release, it even features a punching cover of Donovan’s 1973 song, “Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness).” The Rac’s version of this song adds a bluesy element, with a smashingly fast finish at the end.

Another standout track is “Don’t Bother Me,” a dis directed at pretentiousness, featuring a driving beat from the band’s drummer Patrick Keeler, Jack White’s signature guitar acrobatics and powerful lyric delivery, and bassist Jack Lawrence and Brendan Benson’s harmonies in the back filling everything out. The album also features the addition of Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age and The Dead Weather on keyboards.

Some of the tracks are sung by White, others by Benson, and my favorite song from “Help Me Stranger” is easily one led by the latter. “Only Child” is a beautiful ballad with heartfelt lyrics that can be applied to anyone’s hardships, which is always important. My other favorite is “Help Me Stranger,” a track that, like others on the record, features harmonies between White and Benson, as well as a sort of bouncy, “boppable” sound and a therapeutic and relatable message: “help me get it off my mind.”

Jack White has been an inspiration to me for such a long time now, and his work never ceases to amaze. Between his breakout success with The White Stripes, his continued work as a solo artist, and his collaborations with other musicians such as Loretta Lynn, The Rolling Stones, Beck, Elton John, Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Alicia Keys, to name a few, there is never a dull moment when it comes to following his output. The same can be said about Benson, Fertita and Lawrence, with their other projects like The Greenhornes and The Dead Weather. It should be made clear though that The Raconteurs insist they are not simply a super-group.

And with that assurance in mind, The Raconteurs stand right next to the great classic rock bands as something completely special. “Help Us Stranger” is definitely one of the best albums to come out this summer, if not this year. Every single track has something different to say, each one bringing its own personality.This is a very important quality for a band to have, and it’s sad to say that there are not many bands like The Raconteurs anymore. But I’m so glad they’re still going strong.

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