The Dead Weather has always felt less like a side-project to me and more like a plaything for Jack White and Alison Mosshart.
The Kills haven’t exactly been prolific for the modern era, only churning out a record every three or so years. And with some of the most bad ass vocals and killer stage presence in the biz, it seemed criminal Mosshart wasn’t getting as much stage time she deserves and the Dead Weather have definitely afforded her that.
Meanwhile, Jack White just wanted to show off that he’s a smart arse that could drum as well as he could shred. But it’s his riffs and signature guitar tones that fill the records.
However, their combination, along with what is essentially a backing band in Jack Lawrence and Dean Fertita, has undoubtedly resulted in some bone fide modern rock classics across a three record stretch, including latest effort Dodge And Burn, which delivers the rocket fuel we’ve come to expect from the outfit, as well as some seriously experimental surprises.
Opener I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) is easily the stand out track and was an obvious choice for first single. It launches the album like a flaming motorcycle being ridden off a cliff face, and will push for rock release of 2015 in just a few month’s time, when critics are readying their ‘best of’ lists.
The combination of White’s composition and Mosshart’s howl also thrives on jams like Lose That Right (that actually recalls the heavy rock opera aesthetics of Black Mountain) and Buzzkill(er), but it’s a formula that thins out across the record and gradually loses substance along the way.
But there are two loud exceptions to the rule. Three Dollar Hat is for all intents and purposes a hip hop track, with Jack White spitting rhymes like he grew up on Marshall Mathers’ side of the Detroit tracks. It’s loping bassline, swinging drum rhythm, and psychedelic samples could easily sit in the mix of a Mobb Deep or Wu Tang record, if it weren’t for Mosshart driving her boot into the chorus and kicking everyone’s teeth out of their faces.
Meanwhile album closer Impossible Winner is a piano ballad that sits like a hangnail at the end of a dirty big toe. It’s grandiose and bombastic, sounding like an outtake from a Broadway musical like Rock Of Ages.
In the end, Dodge And Burn does exactly what its name suggests – it manoeuvres out of the comfort zone you would have predicted, and ignites brightly before eventually smouldering out.
‘Dodge and Burn’ is out now, you can grab a download here.
Watch: The Dead Weather – I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)