First taste: The Raconteurs release two new songs from upcoming album. Everything we know so far and what to expect
Jack White is back with two new songs with his alternative blues rock outfit The Raconteurs. The new album arrives in 2019, a decade after 'Consolers of the Lonely'.
Jack White is known to have one of the most rigorous work ethics in the industry. The Third Man Records head honcho had quite a productive year. He put out his epic experimental solo album 'Boarding House Reach' earlier this March and set off on a tour to support the album which saw him headline a host of big billing music festivals too.
Now, the rockstar has returned with two new songs with his B-band The Raconteurs, comprised of White, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence (The Greenhornes, The Dead Weather), and Patrick Keeler (also of The Greenhornes). As confirmed earlier, the two new songs are part of the outfit's third studio album, which is set to arrive sometime next year. The two songs, titled 'Sunday Driver' and 'Now That You're Gone' also feature on a 10th anniversary reissue of 2008’s 'Consolers of the Lonely', their highly acclaimed sophomore album.
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As we eagerly await The Raconteurs' first record in 10 years, here's a breakdown of everything we know so far and what to expect.
What will the album sound like?
A lot has changed in the ten years since The Raconteurs' last studio album. Between then and now, Jack White put out two albums with The Dead Weather and three increasingly complex experimental solo albums. So although it would be fair to expect his recent influences and experimental leanings to trickle into the record, the two previewed singles seem to suggest that the gritty blues-rock sound that the Raconteurs are much loved for is still at the heart of the compositions.
The ultra-catchy opening riff of 'Sunday Driver' proves as much, but even in the first 10 seconds of the song, there's a lot happening. It opens with a short burst of a guitar wail that transitions into a simple three-note shuffle before the familiar sounding riff blasts through full stereo channels. White lets out one of his signature hoots - something that he's picked up over the recent past and used heavily on 'Boarding House Reach', especially on the album highlight 'Over and Over and Over'.
The wailing guitars and the steadily rollicking riff keeps the energy high until we hit the interlude just short of the three-minute mark. “Let’s take a drive, let’s take our time/ Paying no mind to people behind/ The road stretches wide, you’re close by my side/ Let’s kill some time, let’s go for a drive,” the group sings in harmony. It's the perfect song to blast full volume on a road trip, hair flying in the wind and all that jazz. Listen to the song below:
In contrast to 'Sunday Driver', the second single 'Now That You're Gone' is a slower stomper, but the blues are still strong here. Drummer Patrick Keeler lays a steady thumping beat around which the rest of the crew weave an intricate neo-classical blues number. It's a song of longing and separation as the title suggests and Jack White channels his older crooning aesthetics for the song which is a pleasant change from his more recent rapid-fire hip-hop influenced delivery.
The Raconteurs are no strangers to slow burners. Although they usually keep the pace pretty fast and intense with plenty of guitar shreds and White's typical scratchy guitars, some of their best hits like 'Blue Veins' and 'You Don't Understand Me' have been slower numbers. There are no prominent organ or keyboard sections in the two songs, but if this Instagram post from the band is anything to go by, there might be a song on the tracklist called 'Nosedive' which prominently features keys.
What has the band been upto?
Since their last album, 'Consolers of the Lonely', the band members have kept busy with several side projects. After touring in support of the album, the band went into a sort of musical purgatory for a while. White, Jack Lawrence, and part-time touring member Dean Fertita began to perform with their other supergroup, The Dead Weather, starting in 2009. Drummer Patrick Keeler went on to tour with The Afghan Whigs, as well as The Greenhornes alongside Lawrence. Benson continued to release solo records, his latest being 2013’s 'You Were Right.'
The band as a whole had a stop-start mentality in the last decade. They played shows sporadically and announced new music in much the same fashion. Following his 2012 solo debut 'Blunderbuss', White announced that the band would be working on new music, only to have Benson say new music was “off the table” a little over a year later. The group had a partial onstage reunion in 2015, with Benson and Lawrence joining White onstage for renditions of 'Salute Your Solution' and 'Steady, As She Goes.' That was the last news of the band performing together until their reunion announcement this past October. And now, much to the relief of fans, they seem to be on the same page and ready to roll out more new music and hopefully hit the road together too.
Release date, album title and tracklist
It's still early days and not much has been revealed about the new record apart from the two previewed singles. There is no definite release date that has been officially announced but the album is confirmed to drop sometime in 2019. The album title and tracklist are also yet to be revealed, but the album art (which you can see above) continues in the vein of the band's previous two records. For now, we can rock out to the two new singles as we await more details and official announcements.