Album Review: Lazaretto


Jack White
Third Man Records, 2014 (TMR 271)

I think Jack White is very strange and I’m not as convinced of his guitar godhead has he appears to think he is; but there’s no denying that he has a high level of musicanship and, his willingness to experiment and blend different types of musical influences into something intriguing are bold. I was a little wary of buying this album, for all the bells and whistles touted, including but not limited to, reverse tracking, lock tracks, hidden tracks, holographic angels… – all of which made me ask “But what about the music?! But I took the risk and it paid off. The album, title track aside, actually has more of a Western influence to it: Hillbilly, 70s Country, a little honky tonk… cut with razor sharp electric guitar riffs and an occasional trill from a moog. Eclectic, but well worth it for those so inclined 🙂

The gimmicks don’t detract from the music; but the gimmicks can prevent you from getting to the music. In addition to the the issues of linear turntables being unable to play reverse tracking; some turntables may not have the ability to play at 45 and/or 78 rpms (the hidden tracks.) You have to be careful where you drop the needle on Side A or else it will track toward the center and the hidden track. The hidden tracks are supposed to be played through the paper, which isn’t for the faint of heart. Having to change speeds for the hidden tracks, or having to drop the needle in a special place (on Side A to get the side “going,” or Side B depending on which intro track you want for “Just One Drink”) is an inconvenience . It’s really no big deal; but if it’s a hot sticky night after a stupidly long day, your patience is running thin, and you want to just sit back and enjoy the music, it’s a PITA. I have the Ultra LP (which actually also includes the code for a digital dnload) – and while I’m not sorry that I got it, I can definitely sympathize with those who would prefer to wait for the standard issue.

The video for the title track, Lazarreto:

Video talking about the “tricks and chicanery” in the Ultra LP:


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