The sound of a group of musicians having the absolute time of their lives...

Always Jack White’s most melodic project, his partnership with Brendan Benson’s bubblegum pop and the Greenhornes rhythm section makes for a bracingly addictive listen. Opening with the stabbing guitar lines of ‘Bored And Razed’ the record plunges into ragged acoustic strut on near title cut ‘Help Me Stranger’ before seguing into the pensive, palatial Benson-sung ‘Only Child’.

Picking up exactly where they left off, The Raconteurs’ denim-clad early ‘70s reference points are in check, delivered in gleeful, exuberant, electrifying fashion. ‘Sunday Driver’ is a Led Zep stomper, while heavy duty Donovan cover ‘Hey Gyp’ is a barn-storming freakbeat fuzz-out.

‘What’s Yours Is Mine’ is a sleazy Deep Purple workout aided by a curious cowbell, but closer ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ is a violin-aided hoedown worthy of a place on ‘Led Zeppelin III’.  Its gloriously unkempt charm seems to sum up the album as a whole - purely and simply the sound of a group of musicians having the absolute time of their lives.

8/10

Words: Robin Murray

Dig it? Dig deeper: Led Zeppelin, Big Star, Bad Finger

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