Not so long ago, the singer-songwriter Brendan Benson was a local star of the Detroit scene, admired and envied by young hopefuls such as Jack White. A few years on, White's a global million-seller, while Benson remains a journeyman jack of all trades, turning his hand to all manner of generic modes with, at best, moderate distinction. As the core of The Raconteurs, they create an occasionally pleasing series of mostly Seventies pastiches, from the prog-rock organ of "Store Bought Bones" and the irritating Supertramp-esque cleverness of "Intimate Secretary" to the artsy psychedelic pop of "Yellow Sun" and slow blues of "Blue Veins".
They're best when the results most closely recall The White Stripes, as on the heavy blues-rock of "Level" and especially "Broken Boy Soldier" itself. With its galloping riff, exotic guitars following a vaguely oriental scale and White's best Robert Plant impression, the latter's elegantly exciting enough to be an outtake from Led Zep IV, and sports a suitably mystical lyric: "I'm child and man and child again/ The toy broken boy soldier/ I'm child and man and child again/ The boy never gets older."
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