November 20, 2015 The Dead Weather – Dodge and Burn (Album Review)
Rock juggernaut, The Dead Weather, was founded in Nashville, Tennessee in 2009 and features some of the most talented individuals in the music industry today. Jack White (White Stripes, The Raconteurs), perhaps the most notable member, covers lead vocals and drum duties, which is a passion he recently began pursuing again . Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age), is on lead guitars, keyboards and backing vocals. Jack White’s fellow bandmate in The Raconteurs, Jack Lawrence (The Greeenhorues/City and Colour), is on bass, backing vocals and drumming duty. Last and certainly not least, Alison Mosshart (Discount/The Kills), is also on lead vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboards. A unique feature of the band is that all the member’s cover different roles, musically and vocally, on a variety of songs.
The creation of The Dead Weather began in Memphis, Tennessee when White lost his voice during a show with his then band, The Raconteurs. Mosshart and her band, The Kills, were included in the tour as the opening act . White asked Mosshart if she would fill in on songs for him, which lead to White asking is she would record with Lawrence and himself. Ferita would later meet up with the three in the studio as well. The Dead Weather’s, debut album, Horehound, was released, July 14, 2009 on White’s label, Third Man Records. For an independent release, it debuted on the US Billboard album chart at number six and in the UK as number fourteen. Along with the success of the album came a documentary, co-directed by White, called Full Flash Blank. It was a compilation of interviews with the band and included three live performances off Horehound, “60 Feet Tall”, “I Cut like a Buffalo” and “Treat Me like Your Mother.”
Sea of Cowards was The Dead Weather’s second album debut. It was released in May 10, 2010 in the United States, again under White’s independent record label. Seas of Cowards would embody a heavier Blues side to it, unlike Horehound. Sea of Cowards peaked at number five on the Billboard 200, and made Rolling Stone’s, thirty greatest albums of 2010 list, coming in at number eleven. Their song, “Rolling in a Burning Tire” would wind up on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Soundtrack.
The Dead Weather latest release, Dodge and Burn, maybe their greatest achievement yet. Dodge and Burn was released on September 25, 2015, again, under White’s record label, Third Man Records. In its first week, it hit Billboards Top 200 coming in at number ten. It made Third Man Records’ top selling independent album of the week and number one on the vinyl charts. Due to the success, White and Third Man Records holds three consecutive Billboard Top 200, Top 10 debuts and first week vinyl sales.
Dodge and Burn is an album contrived of twelve songs, although the tracks are not cohesive. Each song is weaved together in tapestry of sound that takes one back to the 1970’s, when artist like Janis Joplin, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix ruled the airways. The Dead Weather are able to replicate a time that produced some of the most influential and revered musicians. Their sound consists of Reggae, Blues, Psychedelic and even a Grunge. The Dead Weather have put a stamp on today’s Rock scene and raised the bar for today’s artist.
The first single from Dodge and Burn, “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles),” starts the album off with a strong guitar repeating a solo sound that continues throughout the song. It grows faster, than slows down as the song takes its turns and as the bass keeps tempo. White then comes in with a drum, almost thunderous. Mosshart begins with her sultry, tempting, Bluesy style vocals, with an ability to use her instrument in an almost effortless way. One cannot help but hear a hint of Chrissy Hyde (The Pretenders) and Linda Perry (Four None Blondes) channeling through her.
“Buzzkiller” is the second single and it is a high energy joyride with a psychedelic feel, but also has a Blues mixed with Rock vibe. It starts off with high pitched guitar riffs, with the bass keeping time in an old 70’s rock feel. It is accompanied by a strong drum performance, adding some high hat. Vocals are raw and there is an undeniable strength in Mosshart’s voice. White Stripes fans will be sure to recognize a slight hint of their famous sound in the third song, “Let me Through.” Mosshart seems to take on a male persona for this song, with lines such as “I’m a bad man, let me through.” It has a steady drum, bass and electric guitar using repetitive nature that brings its own flair.
The forth track, “Three Dollar Hat,” is a fun and unique tune as White and Mosshart share vocal duties. The song starts off with a repetitive bass solo, which continues throughout White’s sections. It then adds a mixer of a hypnotic psychedelic electronic solo guitar and Reggae-style drum riff. White’s rap/funk style comes naturally for him and his sarcastic overtone is truly entertaining. The chorus, sung by Mosshart, showcases a powerful traditional Rock vocal soaring over a hard Rock beat . The song ends with a fade off as White sings, almost muffled, “Jackie and Johnny were sweetheart, oh what a love that they had.”
Track five, “Lose the Right,” is true to Reggae style with steele sounding drums mixed with a steady rock drum and bass tempo. The guitar hook is a great accompaniment to the organ, which seems to take over as lead instrument on this piece. Mosshart sings about an ex-lover as her vocals are strong and show that she is in control of how it ends. Although it is a bit short, the message is crisp and clear. The next track, “Rough Detective,” is another song that has a White Stripes feel to it. Once again, White and Mosshart collaborate on vocals, sounds and lyrics as though it came from a Film Noir. A steady drum beat begins with another psychedelic guitar solo, as the drum and bass keep time.
“Open Up”, track number seven, begins with Mosshart’s eerie screams and a true heavy Grunge Rock sound. It then quickly softens as Mosshart sings in a vulnerable trembling style. She then goes into a provocative and brutal vocal performance, building up as the music begins to gain a heavier Rock feel. Then enters raging rock guitar riffs, heavier drums, bass and piano. It is a unique song that goes back and forth between heavy and soft sounds. Next is “Cop and Go,” which highlights Mosshart’s ability to manipulate her voice effortlessly. It has a steady groove and will be a true fan favorite for its pure Indie Rock sound. “Too Bad,” the second to last song on the album, combines sexy vocals with an unapologetic tone. It has a dark feel as the Hendrix-style guitars mix with heavy drum beats and solid bass. Last track on the album, “Impossible Winner,” is a ballad that includes a grand piano, strings, steady drum beat and bass. The soaring vocals make it a beautiful and entrancing ending Dodge and Burn.
The Dead Weather has made an album that is truly distinguished and have cracked the code of true artistic craftsmanship. In doing so, listeners will be happily surprised to embrace Dodge and Burn, like a breathe of fresh air. This is sure to be one of the best albums of the year. CrypticRock gives this album 5 out of 5 stars.