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Jack White’s ‘Lazaretto’ is missing true backwoods moonshine

Album review: Jack White’s ‘Lazaretto’

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Jack White
Third Man Records
★★ (out of 5 stars)

Did Jack White name his new album after a quarantine station for potentially disease-ridden sailors because he’s felt adrift at sea (figuratively, artistically) and isn’t sure he’s 100 percent to return home? It doesn’t sound like it. This album has all the J.W. hallmarks: jittery ghost vocals, cattle prod hot guitar, and a corny gimmick (some of Lazaretto was recorded with an all-male band called the Buzzards and some was recorded with an all-female band, the Peacocks). While nothing here stings with true backwoods moonshine fury, it’s not like Jack is giving us puréed baby vomit, and there’s no doubt that some of these tunes will slip into your local bar’s jukebox or iPod with little complaint. Maybe the only serious misstep is opening with a showy remake of Blind Willie McTell’s “Three Women Blues;” it sounds like J. was aiming for American Graffiti but landed on Lenny and Squiggy.

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