The second Raconteurs album, Consolers of the Lonely, is getting more pub for the way it was released — quickly, mere weeks after its completion, with little prep time for marketers or retail outlets — than for the music it contains. That's appropriate, though, since the best of the new material conceived by Jack White, Brendan Benson and their pals is the most spontaneous. The players continue to draw upon well-worn rock, blues and country conventions in an overtly self-conscious manner that threatens to turn stifling on numbers such as "The Switch and the Spur," a comparatively ornate number marked by south-of-the-border brass, and "Rich Kid Blues," for which Robert Plant and Jimmy Page deserve songwriting credit. But the boys' ragged enthusiasm predominates on the title cut, the rollicking "Salute Your Solutions" and "Hold Up," a willfully dumb retro-nugget that's as much fun to hear as it probably was to make. That's the kind of speed the Raconteurs need.
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