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Jack White earns own stripes on solo album "Blunderbuss"

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jack White has earned his own stripes after early reviews of his solo debut album "Blunderbuss" praised the singer for his throwback feel and raw expression.

The singer, best known for being one half of the Grammy-winning band The White Stripes, will officially release "Blunderbuss" next week, but a live stream of the album was made available online to listeners this week.

Recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, "Blunderbuss" is the first solo album from White, 36, who is also a member of The Raconteurs and the Dead Weather. The White Stripes, formed by White and his ex-wife Meg White, officially split in 2011 after 14 years together.

Much of White's allure lies in his eccentric persona and the mysteries surrounding his life, in the past letting imaginations run wild about his relationship with White Stripes drummer Meg White, who he once claimed was his sister, but was later found to be his ex-wife.

Aesthetic presentation has also become a key element of White's music, who has become known for his trademark black and white color-block attire and Tim Burton-esque look. The singer recruited two backing bands, one all-male, and one all-female, to accompany him on the road for his new album.

The singer, famously a technophobe who still records on analogue tape, said in a recent interview with British newspaper The Guardian that there was a "lack of etiquette surrounding new technology," another reason why he has no personal presence on the Internet, in an age dominated by social media.

White - recently divorced from model and singer Karen Elson, who lends backing vocals throughout the album - sings of love and heartbreak in "Blunderbuss," seemingly channeling raw emotions in lyrics such as "she don't care what kind of wounds she's inflicting on me" in "Freedom at 21," and "I won't let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me," in "Love Interruption."

Entertainment Weekly's Melissa Maerz highlighted the throwback feel on "Blunderbuss," saying "that nostalgia for simpler times works here," but added that the album lacked "the electric jolt" which made White's work on The White Stripes and The Dead Weather so exciting.

Maerz may be in the minority as most early reviews praised White for delivering something authentic and original.

Billboard's Jem Aswad gave White a glowing review, calling the album "familiar enough to please the fan base, adventurous enough to forge a new path ahead, and satisfying enough to make fans realize anew just how much we've missed Jack's songs."

Alexis Petridis at British newspaper The Guardian gave the album five out of five stars, saying "Blunderbuss is White at his most strange, contradictory and unfathomable, and therefore at his best."

The Telegraph's Neil McCormick also gave "Blunderbuss" five out of five stars, praising the singer's ability to fuse "all his influences with a spirit of loose invention and the command of a veteran band leader."

(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy, Editing by Jill Serjeant)

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