So if you're waiting for a White Stripes reunion before you give Jack White the time of day again, then welcome to eternity. As much as we all love the quirky nature that Meg brought to the band, thank God that she's not around for this album. Or praise Satan, or whatever it is Jack does. Regardless, it's about time the man got a chance to flesh out his tunes with an actual drummer. There's no doubt that all of these songs would have composed the next Stripes album had there ever been one, and there was never any doubt that he could make it on his own, but there's still something wholeheartedly refreshing to hear these tunes fleshed out in epic fruition.
Opening track "Missing Pieces" presents the game plan for most of the album: raw, live, heavy on the Rhodes electric piano, and flowing with the eerie warmth that made us all fall for the palest man alive in the first place. I've lost track of what latest Hollywood starlet he's been keeping out of the sunlight with as of late, but it's obvious someone's fucked around with his heart lately. "Love Interruption" kind of cops the groove from "Son of a Preacher Man" but the lyrics portend of much more inherently dark plot twists. Things don't really get any brighter further down the album's story line, but why the hell should they? This is rock and fucking roll after all.
We don't get a guitar solo until 7 tracks into Blunderbuss, but when we do it's electric voodoo at its best. Mr. White rips his 8 bars like he's never done before on "Weep Themselves to Sleep" -- conjuring an attack of melodic static reminiscent of Jerry Garcia trying to replicate Tom Morello. The other ode to slumber on the album, "I Guess I Should Go To Sleep" starts with a doubled piano line ala some operatic Bugs Bunny chase scene. The tune is quirky enough that you miss Meg's voice for a minute, then the snare rolls start popping and you forget all about her again. The last few tracks stray deep into the territory of back porches in Tennessee summers, and it's possibly the most comfortable White has ever sounded before. Luckily, that overblown tube amp still gets brought out once more for the closing half of "Take Me With You When You Go" and you remember what it's like to get the shit kicked out of you by a Fender Telecaster.