July 14th, 2009
So Jack White has a(nother) new music project…yay. If you haven’t heard about it yet, just listen for the tell-tale squeals of the radio DJs, or wait for the sure-sell magazine covers. If it weren’t for the King of Pop’s untimely demise, they’d already be there. This time, Jack’s called his project the Dead Weather. Their “debut” album Horehound, releases Tuesday, July 14th. Seems like the paler Mr. White gets, the more transparent his work is. Personally I feel like I’ve heard it all before so it’s a little tough for me to refer to this as a debut of any kind. If you’re still chasing the Raconteur wagon, don’t worry, you’ll get more of the same slugging blues, but this time, add a little Queens of the Stone Age to it as QOTSA guitarist Dean Fertita recycles some old riffs through a new hollow-body guitar.
I initially thought the inclusion of the Kills’ Alison Mosshart would bring some life to the Dead Weather. The chain-smoking siren exudes all that is sultry when performing dark and tawdry Kills songs. Her work on the power-duo’s latest release, Midnight Boom, is the absolute pinnacle of their discography. Unfortunately, she has been leashed and caged in her new setting with vocals that are less her own and more of an emulation of what Jack White most likely sang to her in the first place. The catalyst for Mosshart’s involvement came when the Kills were supporting the Racontuers on tour and due to injury and bronchitis, Alison filled in lead vocals to finish the tour. These origins are painfully obvious in the bands single, Hang You From the Heavens, where Mosshart’s staccato delivery sounds like a White impersonation rather than original vocals. It becomes even more pronounced when White joins in as “backup” which is essentially just the same vocals laid on two tracks.
The album is filled with artistic breaks, off beats and noise fills that are honestly more distracting than impressive. In little bits and pieces the songs deliver punchy rock and rollah that can certainly get you to bob your head, but as a whole it’s an over-driven muscle car in need of a tuneup and just doesn’t deserve the massive media blitz that seems to follow everything the ironically mustachioed Jackie White touches. What Horehound has is repetition, what it lacks is simplicity. Luckily Jack doesn’t care because all his audio masturbation has only lead to his own cow of a label pooping out loads of music for all the radio beetles to try to burrow into and suck from. What musical genius that Jack retains is wasted on the skins with the Dead Weather. At least put him back in front where can do something inspired. As far as I’m concerned Jack White died after his work with Loretta Lynn and this is just Thumping on a Dead horse.