The Dead Weather - Horehound

2009-09-03 | |

Jack White, the man, the enigma, the musical impresario, returns to the fray in his latest outfit, (or should I term it a disguise?), The Dead Weather. This is a four-piece 'supergroup' featuring Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age, Jack Lawrence formerly of The Raconteurs, and Mr White himself. A few months ago, they put out their debut album.

The Dead Weather's debut album, Horehound, has been floating around since the middle of July. They caught my eye when their not-so-secret show at Glastonbury was aired on the BBC. I liked what I could make out, but, it hadn't sold me. I knew I'd have to come back later for more.

Listening to Horehound, you really pick up a certain vibe. It's bluesy, and raw. It's like moody country blues; like Nick Cave trying to kick his way out from under a pile of Les Paul guitars while the lights are turned off. It's got something visceral about it, but, then again, something homely and naive that draws you in.

Already there have been two singles. The first really struck me as being of 'single' quality, and yet, I was surprised to learn it hadn't charted. Only later would I find out that it had been released way before the Dead Weather were really known in 'big' circles. The second single seemed very reminiscent of The White Stripes' Blue Orchid, and dragged me into the web it was spinning.

Even Bob Dylan wasn't left untouched by these new angry bluesmen. His bluesy '78 tune New Pony features on the debut too, and the band took no qualms in making it their own. It took a few seconds for me to pick up that it was the Bob Dylan track I was waiting for, and not just another dark piece of Jack White's lyrical mind. It really worked - it didn't break up the album, and yet it didn't ruin the original in any way either.

On the downside, well, what can I say? I suppose if I have to go digging for bad things, I could be picky and say "It didn't end on a strong note", but then most albums don't. I could be foolish and say "I'm not too sure about 'I Cut Like a Buffalo' because of the crossed vocals between Mosshart and White"...but in reality, I don't have any qualms with this. It really is what one should expect from a veteran of the alt-rock scene like Jack White.

Overall: 9/10 - It's a good debut, a really good debut. It sounds amazing and gritty, and has all I want in an album. But I don't expect anything less from Jack White.

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