I have always had an interest in Jack White and his music even though it never resonated with me incredibly well. Fear Of The Dawn doesn't change that much but it is a fun listen for those into the weird world of Mr White.
Score: 6 / 10
Jack White has always had a bit of a mixed image out in the world but his eccentricity I think is well founded at this point. I don't think you can point to anything Jack does and call it normal but that is half the fun,
I may not like everything the former Stripe does but I have massive respect for his ambition, and some of the projects he takes on as himself and as the leader behind Third Man Records. So when I was randomly in London and popped into the Third Man Records shop I thought no better time to give this album a listen over a pint.
The opening of the album is fun, fuzz heavy rock with some of Jack's iconic vocals on top. While 'Taking Me Back' and 'Fear Of The Dawn' don't rewrite the book on anything they are enjoyable head popping tunes though the solid fuzz line and static drum groove does mean that for about 10 minutes (or longer) it doesn't really feel like it is going anywhere.
I do like that each song generally flows into the next very well making it feel like a constant listening experience, almost forcing a full album listen as at any point you will be missing context from where you have come from. What it lacks though is highs and lows that make it interesting to listen to. The only way the album seems to know how to change dynamics is to reduce the number of instruments and go down to just drums and bass as a break before bringing everything else back in.
That isn't to say there aren't some solid production moments, but I would consider those more isolated to specific instruments rather than as part of the mix in its whole. 'Eosophobia' is for example one of the more interesting tracks production wise, but it doesn't feel like a complete product. Trying to blend dub, prog, funk, and a little bit of country picking into a song that lacks any sticking power sonically or through its song writing.
If I had one thing to highlight as the issue to this album is that I can see the potential, but I think that Jack either needs to be let of the leash to create weirder and more wonderful work or change up the plan go a bit more on the basic side but work with a producer that can better help tie everything together into a more typically enjoyable package.
'Into The Twilight' is a personal favourite of mine on the album as nothing feels forced. It has all of Jack White's oddities, the fuzz guitar, the odd layers, simple drum beat and off pace song writing and doesn't feel like at any point it was dialled back. The appearance of what I assume is a Korg Miku is also much enjoyed as well.
The second half of the album sadly falls into the same ideas as before. Decent cores of songs let down, but a lack of thought to contrast and dynamics to the songs just means at points you can think you have just been listening to the same riff for 3 minutes. To be honest you probably were apart from the odd break in the guitar, or a synth sample thrown in for a bar to make it 'weird'.
Eosophobia (reprise) is a nice continuation of the theme from before but in all honesty, I think it may have been better as an extension on the same track. Combine these together to create a singular more cohesive track rather than two parts that kind of work individually.
I would say that these were designed to be performed live but looking at his recent set lists it looks like only the opening two tracks have made it to the set list and to be honest given the career Jack has had I can see why.
In summary this isn't bad but isn't great as a full album listen, at 40 minutes it just gets dull sitting on the same concepts through the whole thing. Though highlights of good riffs and sections that get my head moving to the groove can be found and I am sure stronger fans of Jack White will love some of the parts that just confuse me.
Created with love by Ben Greener