I was a Raconteurs virgin before ‘Sunday Driver’ and ‘Now That You’re Gone’ came out, and to be honest I didn’t think much of them after the first listen, but I figured I should listen to their older stuff for some context. Listening to them again I realised that maybe I had been a bit harsh first time around. Maybe there’s some subliminal hypnosis at work?
‘Sunday Driver’ is riff-heavy and chugs along with that unmistakable energy that comes from anything Jack White related. As you can tell from the title it has something to do with the open road and escaping and blah blah blah, but as with all good cliches it’s given an original spin, mind the pun. Just when you think you have a grasp of the song a Beatles-esque bridge comes and goes so smoothly you barely notice how out of place it is, like a motel on Route 66 that fits in so well you think it’s been there since the dawn of time.
‘Now That You’re Gone’ has a more romantic feel to it. Once again it relies on a thematic cliche – a lost love – and once again, Jack White and co. give it its own identity. The contrast between gentle chorus and punchy verse is striking without being obnoxious and there’s a flow between sections that keeps it alive and interesting.
‘Sunday Driver’ and ‘Now That You’re Gone’ give us a little glimmer of hope that what’s to come from The Raconteurs might be able to hold a candle up to what’s come before.