The Dead Weather – Horehound

4 08 2009

As published in Totally Dublin, August 09 issue

An admission from the offset: I hate the term ‘side project’. I find it dismissive and think that it lends any musical undertaking a gimmicky air. With this cleared up, we are free to discuss The Dead Weather’s debut album with the objectivity that it deserves. Co-starring in this venture with Jack White is Alison Mosshart of The Kills, with Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age handling lead guitar duties and Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs providing a hard, grimy bass. White takes his rightful place behind the drum kit (it was he, after all, who taught Meg how to wield those sticks with such ferocity) while Mosshart snarls and wails her way through the entirety of Horehound like PJ Harvey if she morphed into some sexy biker chick who devours men by the dozen in a Dusk ‘Til Dawn-style roadhouse. Mosshart and her band, The Kills, have oft been accused of favouring style over substance but, in my estimation, this is bandwagon-jumping judgement at its finest. Not only does Mosshart surpass competence, but the passion with which she attacks each song on this album proves that she has ‘substance’ coursing through every blue vein in her stylish body. If substance is embodied by current indie-press darlings like Glasvegas and other such wet blanket acts, give me superficiality any day.

In fact the whole album, which was cut in just three weeks, is fraught with creative urgency. But rather than giving the album a messy or unpolished finish, this raw hurriedness serves as a vector for the primal bloodlust for the music that first enticed the quartet to recording those first few songs in the analogue studio at Jack White’s Third Man complex in Nashville, Tennessee. Jack doesn’t do modern, and the deliciously seedy retro-blues/garage-rock timbre that he resonates is slathered all over this album. Influences are varied and lucid and with the delta blues style, Son House-inspired Will There Be Enough Water to the reggae-rock tendency of Cut Like a Buffalo and the Rage Against The Machine/Beastie Boys-like undertones of current single, Treat Me Like Your Mother, Horehound proves that The Dead Weather are far, far more than just another ‘side-project’ for the multi-talented Jack White.

Sheena Madden

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Jack & Coke

18 09 2008

What I’ve gathered from the past few days of media furore regarding Jack Whites elusive new Bond song is this…

1. Jack pens song for new Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.

2. Bond team and Coca Cola team get all smoochy smoochy together.

3. A snippet of Another Way to Die (Jack White’s Bond song) is used in a Coke commercial.

4. Jack flips the lid.

Jack White was commissioned by Sony Pictures to write a theme song for the James Bond film ‘Quantum Of Solace’, not for Coca Cola,” say Jacks management team, “Any other use of the song is based on decisions made by others, not by Jack White.”

The song in all fairness, is not really worth the hype that it’s clearly generating accidentally-on-purpose. And I say this as a HUGE Jack White fan. It has all the formulaic ingredients to be the perfect Bond song. Pitch perfect Alicia Keys provides pristine vocals. Piano and saxophone crescendo perfectly into an overstated orchestral climax which, in all fairness, will probably be a fantastic accompaniment to a dramatic scene in the movie. But where’s the gritty, out-of-synch signature sound that we have come to associate with Jack White? It’s just a little too polished for my liking.

I’ve tried to capture a clip of the video but Sony BMG have gone all Prince-esque and thrown a copyright hissy fit. Not to worry, it’ll be all over the shop upon release thanks to all the hype. Not that that was intentional or anything…