When The Raconteurs announced news of their debut album in early 2006 they described themselves as "a new band made up of old friends." The four members, Brendan Benson, Patrick Keeler, Jack "LJ" Lawrence and Jack White, were all established in their own right; Brendan as a solo artist, Patrick & LJ as the rhythm section of The Greenhornes and Jack as one half of The White Stripes. The impetus to start a new group together came not out of boredom or a longing to escape their increasingly successful day jobs, but from an already long lasting friendship and mutual respect. The four had known one another for well over a decade and had played on bills together dozens of times over the years but, by the time they had completed work on their debut album Broken Boy Soldiers, they had still never played a show as The Raconteurs. Doing things a little differently was part of the fun.
Released in May 2006 Broken Boy Soldiers was a critical and commercial success. The album's first single "Steady, As She Goes" became a monster radio hit. The album charted at #7 in the Billboard Charts and #2 in the UK's Album Charts, where it was Mojo Magazine's Album of The Year. Rolling Stone proclaimed, "Expectations were sky-high, but The Raconteurs exceed them all" and the band picked up the title of Best New Artist in their annual Readers Poll. It was the record's mix of warm harmonies with explosive guitars and layers of sometimes psychedelic rock with catchy sing-song choruses & witty rhymes which made it such an infectious and unique success. The songwriting skills of Brendan and Jack clearly meshed perfectly together; their respective talents for shimmering pop melodies and firecracker blues fit snuggly with the robust and gifted rhythm section.
Soon after the recording of Broken Boy Soldiers, a process that took place in fits and starts in the attic of Brendan Benson's Detroit area home, all four band members relocated to Nashville, TN; Brendan and Jack from Detroit, Patrick and LJ from Cincinnati. A new band in a new town, it was an exciting beginning and, as the album's release brought them worldwide attention, The Raconteurs quickly took to the road.
In their first year of touring, a run that saw them circle the globe (including a jaunt to Australia where they are known as "The Saboteurs") the foursome's always energetic performances grew ever more impressive. A run of summer festival dates garnered them a reputation as one of the finest live acts in the world. The band relished their time together, with sound checks providing time for them to experiment with their sound. In turn, the performances grew more daring. By the time they were opening for Bob Dylan on an arena tour in November every song from the album had been given an expansive workout.
In May 2007 they returned to recording, this time in an actual studio setting, Blackbird in Nashville; one of the first "big" recording studio experiences for any of them. They got as much down on tape as they could before taking time off for other projects; Brendan went headlong into work on his next solo album with producer Gil Norton, LJ and Patrick recorded another Greenhornes album and Jack White left town to tour The White Stripes' furiously popular Icky Thump album. The Raconteurs had found themselves with so many ideas from their time touring that it seemed sensible to give them some time to cool down before coming back to them. At Blackbird they had recorded directly onto 16 track tape which gave them the freedom to try out arrangement and editing ideas they'd come up with during the writing process.
When they finally reconvened in the fall they found that three separate ideas actually worked together as one song. "Consoler Of The Lonely" took position as first finished composition, title track and opening song. It worked, too, as something of a call to arms. If anyone had speculated on whether The Raconteurs would make another record, or if they really were an on-going concern to the band members, "Consoler of The Lonely" is about as emphatic confirmation as one could hope for. Loud, bombastic and littered with changes of tempo and sparks of brash guitar genius, it's an explosive return. The rest of the album is equally thrilling; a thundering rollercoaster of vigorous tunes, each one a pulse-raising slice of dynamite. With Consolers Of The Lonely The Raconteurs have truly hit their stride, deftly creating one of the most charismatic rock records in recent memory.
With the album completed and mastered at the beginning of March, the band plotted a way to unleash it. Keen to have fans hear it as soon as possible they decided to make it available immediately, forgoing any pre-release publicity or marketing. It was mastered in the first week of March 2008 and goes on sale everywhere, on every format, on March 25th. It only takes one listen to Consolers Of The Lonely to understand the band's impatient exuberance. After all, this isn't any ordinary record and they aren't any ordinary band. Doing things a little differently is part of the fun.