Dead Weather

(Third Man Records 2009)Dead Weather - Horehound

Although new kids on the block The Dead Weather – Alison Mosshart (The Kills), Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) – are being heralded as a super group, it seems a bit of an exaggeration. Undoubtedly all are players in the current rock scene and, as you might expect, their debut album, “Horehound,” is as vibrant and fluid as it is dirty and nasty.

The first half of “Horehound” goes straight for the jugular; they aren’t playing around. The band pounces, and tries to draw blood with the heavy, thick sound of “Treat Me Like Your Mother” and the reggae-flavored “I Cut Like a Buffalo.” Buzzing but never laidback jams like “Hang You from the Heavens” and “60 Feet Tall” take their time as they build momentum and anticipation while the instrumentation snarls nearly as much as Mosshart’s vocals. The band also put their spin on Bob Dylan’s “New Pony” making it harder rocking and less bluesy than the original. But the rest of the album lacks the same fire, the same rawness.

Part of the fascination with The Dead Weather is simply the associated names. Don’t be surprised to see The Dead Weather’s “Horehound” at the end of the year when critics start penning their top album lists. Is “Horehound” good? Sure, it’s a solid release but it’s not the greatest thing since sliced bread. Nor is it the most original. Instead, it’s deceptively simple. If you’re looking for the new rock saviors, the new Nirvana, if you will, you’ll be sadly disappointed.


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