New Jack White Album “Lazaretto” Kicks.

Jack White's "Lazaretto".

Jack White’s “Lazaretto”.

It’s hard to believe that this is only Jack White’s second solo album. True, the White Stripes only officially disbanded in 2011, but their last album, Icky Thump was way back in 2007.

It’s hard to believe because in the interim he seems to have become a one man music making machine.

There was The Raconteurs, the band he formed with Brendan Benson and co. The Dead Weather, the one he put together with Alison Mosshart from the Kills and Dean Fertita from Queens of The Stone Age. The wonderfully atmospheric album Rome, produced by the similarly ubiquitous Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi (reviewed earlier here). Plus the small matter of Third Man Records, the record label he formed and runs seemingly entirely on his own.

So far his Nashville studio has played host to Wanda Jackson, Laura Marling, Loretta Lynn, First Aid Kit (reviewed earlier here), Drive By Truckers and Beck as well as producing reissues of Charlie Patton, Blind Willie McTell and Rufus Thomas. Oh, and his cracking first solo effort, Blunderbuss from 2012, reviewed earlier here.

The White Stripes in all their pomp with "Elephant".

The White Stripes in all their pomp with “Elephant”.

Lazaretto his second is, in the best possible sense, a greatest hits compilation of the many different musical moods and genres that he’s drawn to.

There’s the austerity and rigour of the White Stripes, the more expansive and relaxed country rock of the Raconteurs, and that constant pursuit and exploration of the roots and rhythms of his American musical heritage that’s becoming increasingly central to everything he does.

In this, and in his constant restlessness, that sense of being forever driven to gaze ever further afield, and ever more deeper within, we finally have a musician genuinely capable of picking up the mantle of his friend and musical mentor Bob Dylan.

White’s the real deal. And Lazaretto, as you’d expect, is gold.

You can see the title track’s video Lazaretto here.

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