Jack White: Fear of the Dawn review – crackles with energy

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The first of two new Jack White offerings this year, Fear of the Dawn was written in the aftermath of intermittent fasting and bouts of staring directly at the sun of a morning. The result crackles with a wired energy that doubles down on his core creative tenets, while still sounding like no other White record released previously.

The colourful, Nashville-based impresario has always favoured discrete sounds as penetrating as dental drills. Here, blue-flaring guitars trade off with squealing Theremins and chorusing keyboards to provide consistent electro-convulsive jolts as arresting as any in his previous discography. Every single released so far, from Taking Me Back to the Cab Calloway-sampling Hi-De-Ho, featuring Q-Tip, is a bop.

At the same time, a half-light suffuses this album in which anything goes, dodging the logic of the day. Songs called Into the Twilight (whistles, burbles, funk, piano) and Morning, Noon and Night (in which White begs for “a little more time” with a lover) underline the liminal theme, while Eosophobia (Greek for fear of the dawn) uses dub techniques, echo, stereo pans and analogue squealing to ward off the inevitability of morning. “No you don’t!” chants White, as though trying to command the sun.

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