Release Date: Sep 25, 2015
Record label: Third Man Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Jack White and Alison Mosshart’s extracurricular activity has always been a sweet pairing, with White’s occasional histrionics confined solely to his guitar, and the sometimes lumpen swagger of Mosshart’s on-hiatus Kills invigorated by the Nashville veteran’s endless work rate and repertoire of axe tricks. That’s not to downplay other Dead Weather members, now on album three and properly gelled as they are. It’s just that Dodge And Burn feels every part a record made by a duo.
Despite their scuzzy appeal, the Dead Weather’s previous two albums have tended to fall a little short of Jack White’s usual vertiginous quality standards. Third time around, frontwoman Alison Mosshart has located her inner ballsy blueswoman (as opposed to her inner chain-smoking indie-rock vamp) on tracks such as the Led Zep-alike I Feel Love (Every Million Miles); the interplay between guitarist Dean Fertita and bassist Jack Lawrence has been sluiced free of sludge. As a result, Dodge and Burn bristles with clarity of riff, hook and tune and showcases the frankly ridiculous drumming ability of White himself.
Despite his occasionally questionable outspoken nature, I’m mostly quite the fan of the works of Jack White. Obviously The Dead Weather isn’t all about the former White Stripes man, but stick with me for a minute here. Despite feeling generally positive when I hear his tunes, a couple of things have reminded me of his frailty recently. Firstly, the limp effort from Sam Smith for the new James Bond theme sent me back to Quantum of Solace when White and Alicia Keys showed less chemistry than Jesse Pinkman in the first series of Breaking Bad.
It took the Dead Weather two years to make and release Dodge and Burn, with the bandmembers recording whenever they had time to play together and issuing several songs as singles through Third Man's subscription service, The Vault. Despite these fragmented origins, this is the Dead Weather's most satisfying and engaging album, with everything that was good about their previous music getting a shot of adrenaline. The charged opening track, "I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)," is the first sign that things are a little different this time, with the spare swagger of '70s metal and boogie rock providing a platform for some of Dean Fertita's most unhinged guitar playing and some of Alison Mosshart's wildest vocals.
The Dead WeatherDodge and Burn(Third Man)Rating: 4 out of 5 stars Jack White unleashes his inner Led Zeppelin once again on the third go-round of his somewhat supergroup the Dead Weather. Five years after their previous release, little has changed with this hard charging quartet. That might be an issue for other bands, but White (on drums and occasional vocals), frontwoman Alison Mosshart, bassist Jack Lawrence and Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Dean Fertita have plenty of venomous riffs still up their collective sleeves.
What Alison Mosshart and Jack White ultimately share is the idea that rock’n’roll means great sound effects above all else. The guitars they adorn their hi-tech, swamp-blues alt-rock with can be described metaphorically as power-drilling or machine-gunning; they can also be described as literally sounding like a power drill or machine gun. Thus no one would ever describe their microtone-heavy bluster as some kind of relic or return; there’s no garage in it à la the mechanistic Black Keys, nor any grease à la the song-impaired Alabama Shakes.
Much is made of the dynamic pairing between Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) and Alison Mosshart (The Kills), the duo at the front of rock supergroup The Dead Weather, who at times seem like kindred spirits separated at birth. But not enough is said about how the twosome, along with keyboardist Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and bassist Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs, The Greenhornes), casually marries muddy blues with hard-rocking riffs, eclectic rhythms, and howling punk energy. Lost in all the star power is just how effortlessly experimental this music can be.
Every bit of music Jack White lays his hands on seems to sound so rigid. For someone who aims to be the savior of rock and blues, two styles with the loosiest-goosiest of spirits, he attacks each song as if fearful he’s going to knock even one hair out of place. This is even more evident listening to White play drums in his side project, The Dead Weather.
It's entirely possible that when Jack White allegedly threatened to beat up Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney in a New York City bar earlier this month he was doing some street-team marketing for the new Dead Weather record. Because whenever White steps behind the drum kit of this scuzz-rock supergroup, he hits with a crazed intensity that suggests he’s looking to pound a different sort of skin. Since the release of the band’s previous album, 2010’s Sea of Cowards, White has embarked on a solo career that’s seen his work turn both more intimate and extravagant; in this light, the Dead Weather have come to represent the hanging side of beef on which he can unleash his pent-up aggression.
Robert Plant once described Led Zeppelin's 1971 classic "Black Dog" as a "blatant, let's-do-it-in-the-bath type thing." This would also be an accurate appraisal of the third album by Jack White's side project the Dead Weather — assuming that the only time you ever use the bath is for doing it in the bath. The band features White on drums, fire-breathing singer Alison Mosshart of the Kills on vocals, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age on guitars and keyboards, and longtime White associate Jack Lawrence on bass. Together, they uncork the dirtiest, ickiest thump our man Jack has been part of in some time.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. The peculiar thing about this third full-length from The Dead Weather is just how low-key it seems, especially given that Jack White is not normally known for keen avoidance of publicity. The press release that comes with it stresses that the band won't be touring the album, as if that's every bit as important a piece of information as the tracklisting and the liner notes; it does at least, in theory, put to rest the fears of Kills fans impatient for another record - they've heard nary a peep since 2011's Blood Pressures - and anybody who thought that White's pledge to step back from the live stage last year might have been an elaborate - if scarcely interesting - ruse.
When he is not preoccupied with (allegedly) trying to start a fight with one half of The Black Keys, Jack White is usually busy making music. The former frontman of The White Stripes has spent most of his time since the duo officially disbanded making two solo records, but this hasn’t stopped him from working on the third effort from supergroup The Dead Weather, formed with The Kills’ Alison Mosshart in 2009. It has been five years since the Nashville band – which also features Dean Fertita of Queens Of The Stone Age and Jack Lawrence from White’s other outfit The Raconteurs – released their second record, Sea Of Cowards.
Jack White has cut something of a disconsolate figure of late, a man at odds with this crazy, mixed-up world of clickbait journalism, streaming royalties, smartphones at gigs and disregard for the sanctity of a good guac recipe. The announcement in May this year that he was to take an extended break from the stage following extensive touring in support of 2014 solo record ‘Lazaretto’ was something that had probably been coming for a while, but it still raised questions, the most pressing of which concerned The Dead Weather, a project famed for their blistering live performances. Five years on from ‘Sea Of Cowards’, the quartet’s third album begins promisingly with ‘I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)’, on which the 40-year-old White gets to impersonate Led Zep drummer John Bonham, The Kills’ Alison Mosshart is given license to wail like ex-Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick, and everybody goes home happy.
If there is anything we've learned about Alison Mosshart over the last decade, it is that she is a damn undeniable star, no matter what setting she's put in. Whether she's dueling with Kills partner Jamie Hince or collaborating with svengali Jack White, she exudes the sort of louche, effortless cool that you expect from rock stars, without ever coming across as apathetic. It's refreshing then that with The Dead Weather, Jack White (the notorious busiest man in rock) is capable of letting Mosshart truly take the reins.
The Dead Weather has always felt like a way for Jack White to blow off steam and take a respite from being Jack White. Although he’s an integral part of the songwriting process and adds the occasional yelping vocal, he mainly sticks to drumming and cedes the spotlight to his bandmates: Kills vocalist Alison Mosshart, Queens Of The Stone Age keyboardist Dean Fertita, and Raconteurs/Greenhornes bassist Jack Lawrence. As a result, while The Dead Weather’s gothic grime-noise and electro-smudged blues certainly feel of a piece with the rest of White’s catalog, their songs are decidedly looser and less beholden to expectations.