The Dead Weather debuted to much hype and fanfare, mostly (only?) due to the presence of Jack White, the mysterious impresario behind The White Stripes and The Raconteurs. While it’s certainly not going to satisfy anyone who’s expecting indie rock’s Derek and the Dominos, Horehound is an enjoyable album in its own right – not quite original or revolutionary, but nonetheless bubbling with dark sexual magic.
The Dead Weather certainly isn’t aiming for the stripped-down, minimalist rock that made White and Alison Mosshart of the Kills famous. It’s actually quite a bit closer musically to Queens of the Stone Age and the Greenhornes, the alma mater of the band’s guitarist and bassist. Surprisingly, Jack White plays drums on this album, an incomprehensible move considering that his drumming here is forced and mediocre. Fortunately, the swaggering, drunken pomp of Dean Fertita’s guitar work picks up for Jack’s slack.
Mosshart, with the femme fatale persona she cultivates onstage and her lusty female sexual anger, is, unsurprisingly, a perfect match for Jack White. Songs like “I Cut Like A Buffalo” are a call-and-response game worthy of Annie, Get Your Gun, with the gender animosity heightened to fatal levels. I found myself wishing that White and Mosshart played a bit more with these scorned characters they created for themselves on these songs—it was one of the things I enjoyed so much about The White Stripes. But I suppose if there’s anything that White is trying to avoid with this record, it’s comparisons to his other bands.
In A Word: Pistola