Boarding House Reach is the latest release from Jack White. It represents some major departures from his usual musical trajectories. White has long built a career on his commitment to old school approaches like home-made guitars, the use of solely analog recording equipment and a blues-rock base to his musical creations. The new album feels like someone(JW) has decided that the time has come to let a few guards down, to release himself from a set of rules that was perhaps becoming a dogmatic and predictable chain around his musical neck, and to try new things. That is certainly what you get with Boarding House Reach. Funk, hip-hop, rap, even a little gospel flare come together in a musical mishmash that makes you smile. Taking the expected road has never been White's way, and here he departs from his own self-ordered musical world to chart new waters. It works. This is an album that sounds like a man re-energized (given the gushing reviews of his surprise live shows here in London, that energy is translating to a new live energy also) who has found renewed vigour by simply letting go of previously held notions about how music should be made and what a song should sound like. There is a lesson here that extends beyond music. All too often the things that once liberated become legalistic millstones around our necks, strangling creativity and liberty, when we allow no room to adjust, to stay open to the possibility of finding freedom other ways. "The White Stripes was nothing but constriction. I feel like it's better to put obstacles in my path in order to get someplace new," He seems to have exchanged constriction to expansion and it's proven to be a good thing.
Apparently White abandoned his almost religious commitment to purely analog recording and this time used digital technology as well--it didn't do him any harm and it certainly didn't spoil the sonic pleasure of listening to his latest collection of songs.