Jack White – Boarding House Reach

Jack White - Boarding House Reach coverEven back in the days of The White Stripes, genre switching was something Jack White exhibited of a tendency for as, from within the duo’s garage blues idiom, they explored everything from folk to mariachi.

His solo work has done similar across both Blunderbuss and Lazaretto but, until now, has stayed pretty firmly in his retro-blues rock style.

New album Boarding House Reach sees something of a departure from that as White seems intent on twisting his trademark sound in as many ways as possible throughout the record.

Across the 13 tracks the leader of Third Man Records and his band seem intent on exploring as many musical styles as possible while at the same time having shifted their focus from an obsession with music from before 1960 to something slightly more modern.

So as it goes we shift from blues, jazz and bop, to funk, hints of hip hop, sparse synth post-rock and even a couple of moments that sound a little like Rage Against The Machine!

Jack White

In doing this Boarding House Reach feels more like a conceptual experiment than a rock ‘n’ roll record and, while that may be the point, it doesn’t make for the most satisfying listening experience.

Certainly there are songs that are good, maybe not quite as good as some from White’s past, but worth a listen, and there are still points where his distinctive guitar and vocal attack cuts through.

Ultimately though Boarding House Reach misses the mark more than it hits making for something of a disappointing experience even if I suspect it’s the sort of record that might reward repeat listening, should you wish to invest the time in it… but I’m not sure I do.

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