Lazaretto - Third Man/Columbia
FILTER Grade: 90%
By Ken Scrudato on June 10, 2014
Jimmy Page and Keith Richards walk into a church, kneel down and begin praying, “Dear God, sorry about all that Satan stuff, but rock and roll is dying, and we really need your help to save it.” And God says to them, “What do I look like, a miracle worker?”
Luckily, God made Jack White. And Jack has made a new record.
Now, the very idea that such an unthinkable blasphemy as “food is the new rock and roll” even manages to pass through anyone’s lips merely confirms that we do, indeed, have a situation on our hands. Seriously, could you actually imagine yourself shakin’ on down to “When the Levee Breaks” and then suddenly thinking, “Gee, if only I had an artisanal pickle instead?”
But three notes into “High Ball Stepper,” you’re pretty sure Jack is going to single-handedly pull rock’s moribund mass back from the brink of a gluten-free-cupcake death. It consists of little more than one of the nastiest ZOSO-mother-fucking riffs ever conjured, deliciously tortured through about 1,510 distortion pedals—and it will change your fucking life. (Unless, of course, you’re one of those pickle-eaters.)
Then Jack lets it bleed all over the mercilessly vilifying “Entitlement,” possibly doing the Jagger drawl better than Mick actually does it himself. He convincingly confesses, “I can’t bring myself to take without penance”; but he knows bloody well that the real sin is to not steal from The Stones. And so he does it again on the riotous “Just One Drink,” sneering, “You drink water/I’ll drink gasoline,” decisively reminding us that what rock and roll really needs is more poison, more danger. More Jack.
And then there’s that gloriously savage title track. Our six-string savior not only makes his guitar do things that will have you forgetting that Page and Plant are never to take to a stage together again; he is also keen to remind us in just whose hands now rests that Hammer of the Gods, swaggeringly proclaiming: “I’m so Detroit, I make it rise from the ashes.”
A-fucking-men to that.