By Melissa Maerz
April 13, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

Blunderbuss

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Ladies, what have you done to Jack White? On the former White Stripes frontman’s first solo album (which is also his first full-length since his 2011 divorce from model and Third Man labelmate Karen Elson), he thinks you’re all out to get him, you liberated women who got ”freedom in the 21st century,” who feel ”no responsibility, no guilt or morals,” who want to cut off his arms and store them in the icebox or drill holes in his lifeboat with your spike heels. He tapped an all-female band to back him on Saturday Night Live recently, but here he’s still dreaming of the old days, when men were men, and girls would ”hold their hands behind them.”

If White’s afraid of modern women, it’s because he’s always fetishized the past; he’s a man so bugged out by technology, he once built a guitar from three nails, some wood, and a Coke bottle. Musically, that nostalgia for simpler times works here. Now a Nashville resident, he’s recruited pedal-steel players, harpists, and violinists for a set so vintage in style — with nods to ’70s country (”Blunderbuss”), ’60s garage (”Sixteen Saltines”), classic rock (”Freedom at 21”), and the blues (”I’m Shakin”’) — that it’s sequenced to play on vinyl. There’s a certain Opryland jam-session charm to it all, but Blunderbuss lacks the electric jolt that made previous outfits the White Stripes and the Dead Weather so exciting. Maybe because it’s also missing the awesome battle-of-the-sexes tension between White and his ”sisters” in those groups. He’s right that a modern woman should know her place — and sometimes, that place is right in front of the band. B

Best Tracks:
A raw garage rocker Sixteen Saltines
A star-crossed-lovers ballad Blunderbuss

Blunderbuss

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