Up to this point, just about every album Jack White has made, whether solo or with the White Stripes or one of his other bands, has veered between the extremes of roaring electric guitars and rustic acoustic songs. But when he started to stock up a surplus of songs during a prolonged COVID-era break from touring, White decided, for the first time, to bifurcate his new material into two separate albums. The first, Fear of the Dawn, is loud, woolly, and experimental, and a more acoustic album, Entering Heaven Alive, will follow in July.
So Fear of the Dawn is Jack White’s loudest album, but it might also be his weirdest. Other than a few plucked acoustic strings as the beginning of “Eosophobia” Fear Of The Dawn is a buffet of amp noise, distortion pedals, and Univox synths. The frantic lead single “Taking Me Back” opens the album and spills directly into the title track. The latter’s heavy groove is the closest White has ever come to early Black Sabbath as he howls, “When the moon is above you/ Does it tell you ‘I love you’ by screaming?”
Even when the White Stripes became avatars of the so-called “garage rock revival” of the early 2000s, Jack White’s songs had a bug-eyed theatricality and occasional thunderbolts of avant rock weirdness that bands like The Hives and The Vines would never be able to muster. And becoming one of the most famous and respected rock musicians of his generation has emboldened White to freely indulge in his eccentricities instead of sanding them down or explaining himself.
“The White Raven,” which features the kind of heavily processed guitar tones that sounded so alien when he toyed with them on the White Stripes’ 2005 single “Blue Orchid,” features an apt rallying cry for such an uncompromising album: “My motives are invisible, my armor is invincible!”