Jack White announced a surprise new album, ‘Lazaretto’, today with an intriguing teaser track: ‘High Ball Stepper’. Here’s NME writer Leonie Cooper’s first impression review of the song…
The first taster from Jack White’s second solo album ‘Lazaretto’ – due out June 9 – might have been released on April Fools Day, but ‘High Ball Stepper’ is no joke. An instrumental track it might be, but it’s easy to mistake the high-pitched, squealing riff that peppers the entire song with a human voice, so infused with personality as it is. Is it a synth, is it a solo, or could it actually be the sound of Jack White stubbing his toe into the door at his Third Man Records office and shrieking bloody murder, in a particularly melodic fashion?
Who knows and frankly, who the damn hell cares. There’s so much going on in this fabulous four minutes of furious, psychotropic blues that a vocal seems kind of unnecessary. What with the nonchalant piano breakdown, seemingly jetted in from the closing, jazzy credits of ‘Frasier’, the monster truck driving, gravel-pit digging guitars that thunder in at 1:15, and the Jimi Hendrix worthy space-skronk breakdown, sung lyrics would only serve to muddy these fast flowing, fiery waters.
Fuzzing and buzzing with all the energy of a man who simply cannot quit making awesome music – he’s now been putting out hits for 15 years – Jack White’s musical Midas Touch shows little to no signs of fading. Details on ‘Lazeretto’ are limited so far. ‘High Ball Stepper’ is not the first official single – that’s the LP’s title track, which will be revealed later this month. Tracks called ‘Alone In My Home’ and ‘Entitlement’ will also feature on the follow-up to 2012’s ‘Blunderbuss’ and if they’re half as majestic as today’s release, another monumental album is evidently about to make everyone’s summer a little bit more massive.