Under Review: The Dead Weather – Horehound

I’m not sure what year Jack White thinks it is. To him, life is nothing but a confectionery with an apothecary counter. Or something old-timey like that. With his latest, latest band, the Alison “The Kills” Mosshart-fronted Dead Weather, White seals his status as Earth’s busiest musician that people have heard of. Where The White Stripes project allows him to explore his inner, sister-loving child and his role in The Raconteurs is that of co-frontman, White takes a slight backseat on Horehound, The Dead Weather’s debut. That’s not just because he’s planted behind the drum kit, but because his distinctive vocals show up much less frequently than on the tag-team Raconteurs discs. Without a doubt, this is White’s heaviest, grittiest, loosest project yet. It’s also his limpest, with the songs being everything but catchy. They’re neat, for sure, but there’s little substance behind all the swampy swagger. Joining White and Mosshart are Raconteurs/Greenhornes bassist “Little” Jack Lawrence, and Queen Of The Stone Age Dean Fertita. Fertita’s ‘guitorgan,’ an electric guitar shell stuffed with the guts of an analogue keyboard, drives most of the tunes, like the eerie “I Cut Like A Buffalo,” which does indeed feature White singing and near-toasting, too. Songs like that and the atmospheric “So Far From Your Weapon” give a good representation of where this project’s heart lies: in the damp, poorly-lit back alleys of rock n’ roll. To further promote the idea that he’s the next Bob Dylan, White includes an amped-up version of “New Pony,” from Dylan’s oft-covered Street Legal album. Other comparisons aside, what Dylan and White do have in common is boundless ambition. Even if Horehound is looked back on as White’s own Self Portrait, I’m sure he’s still got plenty of Blonde On Blonde’s in him.

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~ by E. on July 13, 2009.

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