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Bow your heads and curtsy, here is Sir Jack White III with his second solo opus. Its not, as you might think on first glance, the Crow soundtrack, look closer and there he is on the sleeve sprawled in a throne he’s made out of some stone remnants he found as his local garden centre.
I’ve always adhered to the less is more theory with Jack White in that his music had more impact when Meg White’s rudimentary drumming reined his excesses in. You’d think then that I wouldn’t be happy then with opener ‘Three Women’ and you'd be right, I’m not. It has everything including the gold plated kitchen sink thrown at it yet its vaguely misogynistic lyrics and lazily tacked on chorus of ‘lordy lord’. The title track is a mess of 70’s hair rock moves and endless guitar solo’s. Its very proggy, layers of fat surround it, sprawling, overproduced, overworked. ‘Temporary Ground’ strips things back a bit and is better for it, with some sweet steel guitar, and country violin. Otherwise the album is overblown in extreme, Led Zeppelin-heavy, ‘Would You Fight For My Love’ begins like one of the segments in Gene Clark’s ‘No Other’ with huge gospel voices, once it gets going it does come up with a stomping chorus but what are all the Yes style prog excesses all about?
Its the complete antidote to the White Stripes, pile everything on higher and higher, reference Led Zeppelin and Emerson Lake and Palmer at all opportunities, make it as honky tonk as a Joe Cocker solo effort performed live at the Grand Ole Opry. It will probably sell a million units. Ah bollocks to it I’ll stick a point on for the amazing ultra vinyl format.
9/10 Laurarara Customer review, 19th November 2014
I passed this by when it was first released, I thought the term 'Ultra LP' was just a pretentious expression of ego.
Then a friend popped it on for me and from the second I saw that needle go from the inside out on side A, I was mesmerised. The little angel hologram in the wax is beyond cool, I have had friends, record lovers and non record lovers alike, standing around my turntable with torches watching the little ladies dance as the record spins.
I wont give away all the surprise features of this quirky LP, but I would definitely recommend watching the youtube video when yours arrives to make sure you don't miss anything. It is indeed an 'Ultra LP'!
You could view all of these eccentricities as gimmicks I suppose, but for me they tap into the reason why I like records - I want more than just hitting 'download', I want to touch it, and read the lyric sheet, and look for silly little pictures in the wax, I want to concentrate on dropping the needle on the first track just right and hearing the song start while I am still stood right in front of the speakers - I like records because they are an experience. And Jack White's team at Third Man Records has really made this one something to look at and play with as well as listen to - thank you guys, I love it!
Now I've got so swept up in the hype that I haven't even mentioned the music. I've heard a range of complaints from fellow Jack White fans... too country... not bluesy enough... not heavy enough. I disagree, there are two things I expect from this gentleman, distinctive and interesting, and this album is both.
There are some great tracks to tap your toe to, a female vocalist with a really pretty voice and plenty of that super awesome guitar.
It's a big thumbs up from me.
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