Jack White: ‘Entering Heaven Alive’ – Acoustic revision marks album number two in same year


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Rating: 4 out of 5.

A completion of a twin record not only satisfies most – with one charting off White’s fuzzy Stripes-chaos and the other the complimentary partner, offering curious and sugary acoustics – but also feeds into his compelling thirst for fantastic artistry.

What a year he’s had, eh? From launching his latest Third Man Records store in London with a surprise Soho rooftop gig to conquering a surprise set at Glastonbury marking giant feats made in his first and finally landing back in London with a pre-release show at Rough Trade East in Spitalfields for his second, it resets the former Stripes member on familiar territory similar to the good deeds that occurred post-Boarding House Reach in 2018. All this despite continuous lockdown struggles and supply chain issues when it came to getting his music out there in time.

Harking back to his embellished Detroit roots of enriching blues notes from his debut in Blunderbuss and even as far back as Get Behind Me Satan in 2005 with Meg, it is a satisfying closing chapter for the twin collection that reminded us all how good rock conceptualism can really be.

A few months earlier, White was a fiercely-loaded artist with his definitive fuzzy reception and scathed distortion all set out in his pensive blue-and-scorched-Earth meta-verse. This time around, Entering Heaven Alive is a morbid contemplation if it may actually happen. No integral amplified post-production here, just acoustic sessions deepened in sorrow and honesty – almost as if they were written in the very depths of lockdown itself.

A Tip From You To Me, Love is Selfish and If I Die Tomorrow are notable favourites but does offer compelling enjoyments throughout.

A stand-out classic would be Queen of the Bees. A jazzy number with bumblin’ bass and sweetened textures that cuts through the straight-edged blues in-between it from I’ve Got You Surrounded (With Love) – tumultuous tinkling of the ivories and chauvinistic White solo abound – and darker timepiece A Tree on Fire from Within.

This is an artist who is comfortable within himself. Unafraid to produce often hyper-experimental works that aren’t often as lauded as one might think – but also unfazed to remaster intimate and jaunty acoustics for an alternative sentiment – it’s nice to see that Jack is back to writing again but all on is own terms.

One of his most complete projects to date, it completes the story arc of a wild couple of months for the electric-blue blues rock singer.

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