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Album: The Raconteurs, Consolers of the Lonely (Third Man/XL)

Released with neither promotional fanfare nor review copies, The Raconteurs' Consolers of the Lonely is a marked improvement on their Broken Boy Soldiers debut, which drew plenty of fawning praise but relied too heavily on drab prog-rock antecedents.

Recording in a proper studio this time, with more considered arrangements, the band have carved out a much more distinctive character here, sustained across a range of styles including the Who-style hard-rock attack of "Hold Up", the horn-swathed blues of "Many Shades of Black", the mariachi desert tableau of "The Switch and the Spur", the mandolin-tinted murder melodrama of "Carolina Drama", and the sprightly bluegrass-rocker "Old Enough", a brusque dismissal of some teenage know-it-all. The startling high-register guitar breaks that Jack White laced through Icky Thump, with that zillion-volt crackle, also feature on several tracks and, despite the album's lyrical mood of betrayal, break-up and put-down, they're rather more indicative of its restless musical essence.

Watch The Raconteurs video for 'Salute Your Solution' from their album 'Consolers of the Lonely'

Pick of the album: 'Carolina Drama', 'Consoler of the Lonely', 'Old Enough'

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