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Horehound

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Album Review

Expectations for a project featuring members of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, the Kills, and Queens of the Stone Age would almost have to run high. After all, these are all bands that find ways to draw on the classic tenets of rock without sounding completely indebted to the past. Yet the Dead Weather — which combines the talents of Jack White, Jack Lawrence, Alison Mosshart, and Dean Fertita — aren't so much concerned with living up to expectations as they are about defying them. There's a different kind of alchemy on Horehound than on any of the bandmembers' other projects. Not only does White returns to his first instrument, the drums, he also trades in the high-pitched yelp he uses with the Stripes and Raconteurs for a deeper, at-times unrecognizable, voice on "I Cut Like a Buffalo," the lone Horehound track he wrote by himself. The Dead Weather's sound isn't so much heavy as it is thick with a tense atmosphere that's sustained throughout most of the album, and the group shuns the tighter structures of their other bands for a bluesy, jammy grind. Horehound's opening track, "60 Feet Tall," shows just how explosive this sound can be, from the teasing guitars and percussion that begin it to its lunging climax. Sexual tension is one of the few constants between the Dead Weather and White and Mosshart's other bands, and they use it particularly well on "Hang You from the Heavens" and "Treat Me Like Your Mother," where their vocals and the lyrics "left, right, left, right" suggest a dance, or a fight, or something in between. Despite all the star power in this project, Mosshart's vocals are the main attraction: she snarls, croons, and sighs, displaying all the charisma she has in the Kills plus more nuance. She takes her voice to places she hasn't explored with her main project: "So Far from Your Weapon," which she wrote on her own, boasts an hypnotic groove and an oddly jazzy undercurrent, thanks to her smoky singing and White's rolling drums. Indeed, her voice and White's are usually the loudest elements on the album, with Fertita and Lawrence ably filling in the gaps between the pair's towering presences. Horehound's loose-limbed immediacy often feels like a particularly inspired rehearsal, especially on the cover of Bob Dylan's "New Pony," which gets amped up with huge grungy riffs and shouted backing vocals. This looseness also allows the band to indulge flights of fancy like the instrumental "3 Birds" and "Rocking Horse"'s menacing surf-jazz. However, the Dead Weather's chemistry fizzles on the more unfocused tracks, and as gripping as their sound is, it can get claustrophobic. The songs that break from the pack are among the best. "Bone House" layers programmed and live drums with creepy falsetto vocals and some great guitar work from Fertita, and "Will There Be Enough Water?"'s drifting acoustic blues provides the calm after Horehound's storm. Given the fact that the Dead Weather formed on a whim and recorded these songs in a matter of weeks, Horehound is a compelling album, and one that shows that the band's members bring out the best in each other, albeit in unexpected ways.

Customer Reviews

Classic Cut

With no aid of computers - this album is a mixture of experimental, blues and rock - an excellent approach to this art. Jack White out does himself again with the help of Alison Mosshart (of The Kills), Dean Fertita (of Queens of the Stone Age) and bassist Jack Lawrence (of The Raconteurs and The Greenhornes). A GREAT BUY every song are aROCKIN

The Dead Weather

What more could you ask for in a band, Alison Mosshart's voice is amazing alongside one the greatest musicians of our time Jack White this album exceeds my expectations. The album is dark and bluesy and thats what I love about it. Its a must buy.

The dark side of Jack unleashed

I know it's unfair to focus around Jack White so much but lets be brutally honest here, everyone who is familiar with Jack White would have to agree that he is the main creative force behind the band, even when he's on the drums, he's unstoppable. It's nice to keep seeing these different sides of Jack. First with the White Stripes, then the Saboteurs (Raconteurs) and now the Deadweather. This album is amazingly heavy, without overly assaulting your senses and the album has such an array of styles. "Treat me like your mother" almost sounds as if it came out of a Rage against the Machine album but there's obvious signs of Jack's style in this. The Deadweather also use pretty interesting sounds. The first time I heard "Cut like a buffalo" I was kind of disturbed due to the words "Is that you choking?" accompanied by sounds of violent choking. All in all a fresh album. Very dark in its nature, possibly due to the heavy bass and distortion used. Maybe its because of the influences of Dean Feritta (Queens of the stone age) and Alison Mosshart (the Kills) that bring out or that gives Jack's style of music-making a dark edge. Either way it's brilliant. Do youself a favour and go get this. Please.

Biography

Formed: 2009 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Crafting a darkly potent mix of garage, blues, punk, and rock & roll informed by the members' other projects, the Dead Weather features Jack White, the Kills' Alison Mosshart, Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Dean Fertita, and the Raconteurs' "Little Jack" Lawrence. The group began in 2008 after the Raconteurs' U.S. tour with the Kills: Toward the end of the tour, bronchitis made it difficult for White to sing as much as usual, so Mosshart was drafted to sing several of his songs. Her on-stage chemistry...
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Horehound, The Dead Weather
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