the dead weather sea of cowards
  • THURSDAY, MAY 27, 2010

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To say Jack White is talented would be an understatement. His latest musical endeavor, The Dead Weather, consisting of Dean Fertita, Alison Mosshart, and Jack Lawrence, is no exception. With members from The Kills, The Raconteurs, and Queens of the Stone Age, it is a supergroup to end all supergroups. Their sophomore album Sea of Cowards is a feast of balls-to-the-wall blues guitar rock and dirty power pop. With such high expectations for the album, the band delivers. And at just 35 minutes, the album is like a quick and dirty mud wrestling match between blues and hard rock.

The bar is set with sinister opener "Blue Blood Blues." It's just pure, good old-fashioned blues guitar-infused hard rock. The track gets down to the nitty-gritty of blues guitar with a filthy Dean Fertita guitar assault. There's really not much else to the track besides sweet guitar licks, but that may very well be the whole point. "Hustle and Cuss" has Jack Lawrence and Fertita echoing each other on bass and guitar respectively. Alison Mosshart's vocals are on a sneak attack, a full frontal assault on listeners at the end. "The Difference Between Us" is a synth-driven love affair between reverb and Mosshart's smoky vocals. Jack White finds himself behind the drum kit on this album, and on this track he does a good job of complementing the otherwise heavy sound of the synths.

The lead single "Die by the Drop" is vocal bark/bite fodder between Mosshart and White. In the background, the piano bangs out a single note and Lawrence's bass answers its urgent call. Fertita interrupts with his forever-in-the-gutter guitar riffs, providing sweet release for the tension built up in the rest of the track. The dueling lead guitars on the smoldering "I Can't Hear You" are in a fight to the death to be superior and the result is a smattering of awesome. Organ-laden "Gasoline" has the guitar that reigned supreme duking it out with Mosshart's driven strain on her vocal chords. "No Horse" is excessive with dissonant guitars and bass but otherwise unremarkable. "Looking at the Invisible Man" blindsides listeners by sounding like a failed prog-rock experiment with feedback, strange vocal filters, and lots of synth. "Old Mary" is an odd one that starts with White creepily reciting the lyrics "Old Mary, full of grease/Your heart stops within you" over and over. A witty, if not somewhat scary, play on the Hail Mary prayer. The piano ballad is accompanied by a harmonizing White and Mosshart and a dash of those famous filthy blues guitar riffs.

The Dead Weather is a supergroup that just might be one to stay, so long as they keep evolving. They've come a long way since last year's Horehound. Sea of Cowards has them further experimenting with their trademark blues guitar. They get down to the dirt, so to speak, with riffs that are so dirty they should be censored. The band throws in some synth for the kicks and clever lyricism. If The Dead Weather wanted to prove themselves as being nuance, they certainly succeeded with Sea of Cowards. -hanna kasper

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MP3: "Die By The Drop" (Sea Of Cowards)
The Dead Weather on Myspace

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