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Jack White fires up the riff stick for surprise single Battle Cry
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Jack White fires up the riff stick for surprise single Battle Cry

by Stephen Charlton2017/04/07

Musical chameleon Jack White dropped a bold new surprise single called Battle Cry today, which is streaming on Spotify. The track is full of big nasty riffs, and is largely instrumental. The only vocals come in the form of military-style shouted gang vocals, so no surprise where the title came from. When you’re Jack White you get used to doing pretty much anything you like and this is no exception. Few artists would dare to break a three year-gap in solo releases with a retro heavy metal instrumental.

Single represents overdue new music for Jack White

Battle Cry comes in at two and a half minutes and includes an experimental harmonised solo in the bridge. The last time we heard from White was his 2014 solo effort Lazaretto, aside from an acoustic rarities release last year. He also, somewhat unexpectedly, wrote a song and played bass on a track for Beyoncé’s Lemonade LP last year.

New album may not be as heavy as Battle Cry

Jack white battle cry new album solo single shot

Jack White has taken a lo-fi approach to music in recent times.

White steadily releases an album every two years when he has an active project, so a new album is well overdue at this point. It should be an interesting listen when it emerges. The big riffs on Battle Cry are quite a stylistic shift from the blues and country-tinged material White has so far explored as a solo artist. A recent interview he did with The New Yorker suggests the rest of the material may not be quite so heavy:

“I’m going to try to write songs where I can’t be heard by the next-door neighbour. And I want to write like Michael Jackson would write—instead of writing parts on the instruments or humming melodies, you think of them. To do everything in my head and to do it in silence and use only one room.”

In true Jack White style, the new material is being recorded on a four-track reel-to-reel tape recorder he bought when he was 14 off the money made mowing laws.

“With computers you can use three hundred and ten tracks if you want to, but it’s too much freedom. I always have my own rules, and I can bend them if I want. I can see the confines I’m working in, but nobody else knows I’m doing it.”

During the interview White revealed he’s working on new material several hours a day in the Nashville apartment.

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About The Author
Stephen Charlton
Stephen Charlton is a musician, journalist and editor.

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