The Dead Weather – Horehound

Third Man Records

On paper The Dead Weather sounds like a foolproof idea. Take Alison Mosshart who oozes raw sexuality in The Kills and pair her with Jack White a man who knows a thing or two about the intersection of rawness sex and music himself. It sounds golden even without factoring Dean Fertita who plays guitar in Queens of the Stone Age and veteran White collaborator Jack Lawrence from The Raconteurs. As is usually the case with these kinds of supergroups though the actual product doesn’t end up as strong as the one that exists in fans’ imaginations.

Though White primarily handles percussion instead of his customary guitar on Horehound the album’s sound is still within his usual wheelhouse. The Dead Weather trade in giant skuzzy blues riffs blasts of thick bass and vintage organ sounds. It’s not as scrappy as The White Stripes and is more menacing than The Raconteurs but even with Mosshart handling most of the vocals it still undeniably bears White’s old blues and classic rock stamp.

Like most White projects Horehound does possess some inspired moments. “Treat Me Like Your Mother” clings for dear life to an enraged bull of a riff that bucks the song through a series of transitions and provides one of the few moments on the album when Mosshart and White display any vocal chemistry. On album closer “Will There Be Enough Water?” White trades his drum kit for an acoustic guitar and the band abandons the beefy riffage providing the album with a nice slow-burning comedown.

Elsewhere Horehound falters. Other than the incredibly dopey reggae-blues disaster of “I Cut Like a Buffalo” the album is never downright bad it just routinely comes off like a forgettable female-fronted poor man’s Led Zeppelin.

White is moving through new bands and collaborators at lightning speed but he’s not pushing his music forward only sideways. After creating a handful of good albums and making a mint resurrecting the past it’s high time he takes a look towards the future.