Whether it's destiny, sheer talent or careful compromise and ego-checking that makes the Raconteurs work, one thing is for sure: The sneak-attack release of the band's second full-length (the superbly performed and produced Consolers of the Lonely) effectively silenced any lingering portrayals of them as a flash-in-the-pan super-group or White Stripes side-project. After relocating its headquarters from Detroit to Nashville, the band entered the recording hot spot Blackbird Studio, where it capitalized on the sonic possibilities of a state-of-the-art facility without turning out an overly commercial sounding album — or sacrificing any of the energy or charm of its debut (2006's Broken Boy Soldiers). The first single, "Salute Your Solution," is the kind of song you would expect from this quartet, with Jack White and Brendan Benson's rapid-fire, unison vocal delivery and vintage tube-amplifier crunch reverberating left and right in the speakers (making for a great headphone experience). But the soulful, horn-tinged ballads contributed by Benson are Lonely's true gems. "Many Shades of Black," with its bluesy, shuffled sway and universally relatable storyline of rationalizing lost love, will no doubt be a favorite in concert, where the band has truly solidified its reputation.
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