This Dead Weather article was written by Henry Smith, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Jack Willis
By now, we’re all very familiar with Jack White. We know all of his riffs, from ‘Seven Nation Army’ to ‘Steady As She Goes’ off by heart, so regular listeners of the Detroit-born rocker would be greatly taken aback by The Dead Weather. Their sound is far different to any other of his exploits, and with their third studio album ‘Dodge and Burn’ (after ‘Horehound’ and ‘Sea of Cowards’), The Dead Weather reaches a level that Jack White himself would be envious of.
While The White Stripes and The Raconteurs feel very much like Jack White-led projects, The Dead Weather feels more like a band who happen to have Jack White as their lead singer (as well as exceptional drummer). Here, Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Dean Fertita and The Raconteurs’ bassist “Little Jack” Lawrence provide the harmony, and their preference for the lower end of the guitar spectrum gives ‘Dodge and Burn’ a darker, punkier edge than anything previously produced in ‘Lazaretto’ or ‘Icky Thump’. The first three tracks give an apt demonstration of The Dead Weather’s talents, and ‘I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)’, ‘Buzzkill(er)’ and ‘Let Me Through’ are all dark, funky songs that are almost impossible to avoid bobbing your head to. The album’s fourth song, ‘Three Dollar Hat’, shows us that while Jack White’s talent is undoubted, he’s definitely benefitted from some creative input. Lyrically, it’s very similar to his previous work, but the percussion-driven tune along with Jack’s decision to rap instead of singing produce a wonderful synergy that continues throughout the album.
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The Dead Weather benefits greatly from Jack White’s drumming, but also from the fact that he has taken a step back when it comes to singing. Alison Mosshart, of The Kills, adds another feather to the cap of The Dead Weather by giving them a softer set of vocals for a completely different kind of song. On ‘Dodge and Burn’, there’s only one such song, ‘Impossible Winner’ (the closing track), but it’s well worth the wait; Mosshart’s voice rings true over a piano backing and restrained drums and elevates ‘Dodge and Burn’ even higher.
‘Dodge and Burn’ may not appeal to all members of the Jack White fan club, but it benefits greatly from a musical chemistry with Alison Mosshart and with songs like ‘Buzzkill(er)’, ‘Rough Detective’ and ‘Impossible Winner’, it stakes a great claim to be the best exponent of Jack White’s musical talent. At least, however, until he takes on the challenge of becoming a one-man band.
‘Dodge and Burn’ is out now on Third Man Records