The Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards

2010-05-16 | |

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know of The Dead Weather. They hit Glastonbury last year as the 'secret act' that everyone had been speculating about; they came totally out of left field, and stormed their way right into the rock scene like every other project the enigmatic Jack White has been involved in. There's a song that says "You've got to keep the Devil way down in the hole", but, when it comes to the diabolic genius of Jack White, and his collaboration with Alison Mosshart (The Kills), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs), it's probably best to let him out, and into your headphones.

Ballsy and Bluesy are the first things that spring to mind with Sea of Cowards. I've said it before: there's something raw, visceral, untamed and edgy about this side of Jack White's projects. Sure, The White Stripes were always 'blues-garage-rock' and The Raconteurs kind of touched on this, but where The Dead Weather dare to tread is a no-man's land, piled high with Spinal Tap-esque amps, and populated by the rotting corpses of Muddy Waters, Les Paul, and Blind Lemon Jefferson...

Beyond those pure blues-and-roll riffs, what else has it got? Well - it's like injecting molasses into your ears. It's sludgy, slow, and yet, the sugary-sweet high is over in a matter of seconds. I was quite shocked on first tuning into this, finding it to be a little over 35 minutes in length. Whilst that definitely explains how it was able to be pushed out in 15 months, it doesn't explain how it could be so darned good. You find yourself reaching the end and wanting more; so much more.

The single Die By The Drop is probably the point where White, Fertita, Lawrence and Mosshart pin up the sign "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here". It's definitely the point where the album hits its mainstream zenith, and then begins the winding, country road back down to the bayou, head bobbing all the way, foot tapping, and maybe even a wry smile available. If you liked it up to now, this is the real turning point. For me, it was where I turned it up even louder; but it might well be where you walk away.

What this album packs into its almost minuscule time-frame is amazing, frankly. I'm sure people who are fans of bands like Lightning Bolt and hardcore punk outfits will no doubt say that it's easy to do. Yes, it is easy to cram songs into an album. However, it's not easy to find yourself the kind of consistent quality that is provided from start-to-finish with this. It's probably the progression that should have been in the fusion between the dark and the Americana, instead of psychobilly. In fact, it's a slice of Mississippi Mud Cake heaped with some of the smoothest whipped cream; it's an afternoon treat that'll leave you salivating for more. It's Jack White at his best.

Overall: 9/10 - Probably one of my favourite albums of the year so far. I cannot deny that this is just what the doctor ordered.

Top Track: Gasoline

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