When Lazaretto roars to action with the sweltering, Hammond-driven rocker “Three Women”, Jack White is on familiar terrain, unleashing a supercharged, garagey blues riff that’s as archetypal as the theme. But when the “red, blonde and brunette” ladies in question appear in a “digital photograph”, the anachronism is a striking reminder of White’s gift for recasting classic musical elements in arrestingly modern contexts. There are plenty of such moments on Lazaretto, like when the title track’s heavy bass rumble is augmented with a squall of 8-bit Atari noise and a vaguely Appalachian fiddle solo. Throughout, White’s brand of heated, high-powered blues-rock dominates, but he mixes things up with breezy, country-inflected charmers (“Temporary Ground”, “Entitlement”) and eerie, would-be spaghetti western themes (“Would You Fight for My Love?”, “I Think I Found the Culprit”). The album’s best tracks, like “Alone in My Home” and “Just One Drink”, combine all of the above in a heady, hot-blooded, hook-oriented package.
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