The Raconteurs album is pretty enjoyable, because of and not in spite of the unambitious, tossed off, just-dudes-jamming vibe of the whole affair that some critics have been giving it demerits for. It's also a pretty good Brendan Benson record, maybe better than the proper solo album he put out last year (jury's still out, though). At least, I think of it that way because Jack White isn't that much more evident as a songwriting presence on it than Jason Falkner was on BB's early stuff, and Benson seems to benefit from a collaborator. I've always been barely tolerant of White's indie screech vocals and suffocating aesthetic, but they work really well as a counterpoint to a comparably mellower voice and persona. It kind of astounds me that anyone would pick the plodding, underwhelming "Steady As She Goes" as the best song (which for me would be "Intimate Secretary," but I'm willing to entertain other options as I listen to it some more), but I guess it kinda makes sense as a single. There are mp3's of their recent performance on BBC radio here, and almost every song they play is a dramatically different arrangement from the ones on the album, which is encouraging for the band's future. And I guess it makes sense, since they supposedly recorded the album 2 years ago, that they'd want to change them up a bit now that they're touring.

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