Blunderbuss: that's not just the name of Jack White's 2012 debut solo album, but a metaphorical definition of his musical career since dissolving The White Stripes - a scattershot approach, with albums from The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, production duties for Wanda Jackson and others, collaborations with Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi, and the setting up of his own Third Man studio. "Blunderbuss" could also sum up his outbursts about fellow musicians, which last month necessitated a public apology to The Black Keys.
White should let his music do the talking, because once again the solo context seems to have encouraged him to find focus and, in truth, Lazaretto leaves The Black Keys' recent US number one album Turn Blue standing at the crossroads with electric guitar feebly in hand.
Like its predecessor, Lazaretto cranks up the blues while taking occasional diversions down the dusty roads of Americana and upping the ante on lyrical bitterness. The title track has a hip-hop snap to the spit of the vocals and a guitar solo that distils White's wired anger into distorted sound. And while elsewhere there's a touch more country on the surface, that's more down to the instruments used (fiddle, pedal steel guitar) than the songwriting itself.