The Dead Weather Get Heavy with Horehound

July 14, 2009 · Print This Article

Four talented musicians walk into a studio . . . Featuring Jack Lawerence (The Raconteurs, The Greenhornes) on bass, Alison Mosshart (The Kills) on vocals, Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) on guitar, synthesizer, and organ, and the former Detroiter of White Stripes and Raconteurs fame on the drums and some vocals, The Dead Weather was unveiled at a secret show during the opening of White’s Third Man Studios in downtown Nashville back in March of 2009. Jack White clearly has the Midas touch. Terms like “side project” or “supergroup” cannot do justice to the genius of the highly anticipated, full length LP Horehound.

The record brings the dark side: it’s atmospherically eerie and somewhat sinister without going overindulgent or gimmicky due to Fertita’s brilliant guitar play of feedback and tone, matched by Mosshart’s empowering vocal howls. Even stepping out of the limelight, Jack White’s presence pervades the inspired proceedings.

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From the opening track of the album, “60 Feet Tall”, the band relentlessly floors listeners with a sound that reverberates throughout the nether regions. Mosshart’s demanding presence snarls on tracks like “Treat Me Like Your Mother.”  But which one of her male fans wouldn’t want to take a vicious scolding from the goddess with a crooner’s growl?

Fertita’s assault of feedback and distortion consistently comes across as controlled chaos, single-handedly taking tracks to hair rising heights before calming back down, if only for a small amount of time. Hypnotic and head-splitting, Ferita simultaneously departs from and fulfills White’s blues vision. Lawrence matches the guitar with a heavy, hazy bass that acts as a grounding rod for the rest of the members wicked flights.

As for White on drums, he can definitely hold his own when working with such talent, especially on an instrument that stands as a backbone to the musical composition. He even shares vocal parts on the mid-album freakout “Rocking Horse,” the charged up “I Cut like a Buffalo,” and the slow paced closing track “Will There Be Enough Water.”

Beginning to end, White’s latest is heavy from the head to the hands to the hooves. The Dead Weather seamlessly blends and bends rock genres into one solid, wildcrafted groove. Horehound will likely weather the competition for the rest of the year to claim its place as one of the best rock releases of 2009. –Jim Belote

Horehound was released today on Jack White’s Third Man Records.

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