Here’s a quick and pretty amazing fact: The Beatles released all twelve of their studio albums between 1962 and 1970. Eight years of music that will live on forever.
Will there ever be a band that is their equal? No.
But, we live in a different world now; I think musicians realize the importance of taking a break. What if Paul and George could have said: ”Hey John, enjoy married life for a bit and call us when you’re ready to get back in the studio.” John might still be alive and the Beatles might have made music together for many more years.
The Raconteurs are not the modern-day Beatles…probably.
Jack White and Brendan Benson have not written near as many hits together as Lennon and McCartney did and they have not cranked out albums in an incredibly short period of time like the Beatles did. But, the four members are independently successful, the band is innovative, and they have an album with a ”butcher cover” that will be a very rare sight. Seriously, the cover of the limited Third Man Records Vault edition of Help Us Stranger has a lenticular cover that can be peeled off to reveal a Beatles-esqe ”butcher cover.” I will not be peeling off my copy.
Imagine if 60s psychedelic music was never interrupted and it continued to grow and mature and evolve. That is the sound of Help Us Stranger. It is disjunctive and experimental like the 60s and that sound is mixed with bluesy folk and modern garage rock.
I am a huge Jack White fan, so I recognize the futuristic and experimental stylings he explored on Boarding House Reach are also present on this album. It is like when George Harrison got way into the sitar.
Help Us Stranger is an amalgamation of sounds and styles from highly talented individuals who bring their own flavor to the band. It is rock n roll that sounds familiar enough without sounding too much like anything else.
My favorite track: Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)