- 02 Oct 15
Third gothic outing for Jack White and co.
Considering he’s recently been called out as a “bully” by The Black Keys, this is as nice reminder that, yes, Jack White can get along with others. Calling The Dead Weather a “supergroup” might be a stretch – White is the only household name and Kills singer Alison Mosshart is, completely unfairly, most famous for a shot of her sitting with Harry Styles – but this quartet are busy enough with the rock ‘n’ roll day jobs to mean their third effort had to be pieced together when schedules would allow.
Thankfully, that doesn’t mean they sound less than fully committed. The vampiric blues and garage blasts of before are still in place, but they’ve gotten a little more varied in the five years since Sea Of Cowards. Sure, it’s all relative, and ending the album with a strings-drenched ballad is a revolution for this lot, but their high points come when they focus on being playful, and less in thrall to past masters. The queasy ‘Three Dollar Hat’ provides a thrilling jolt halfway through its run-time and ushers in a number of tracks that supply enough weirdness to prove they put more thought into this than a ‘kick out the jams with your mates’ exercise.
Of course, there are jams. When they hit, as on the elemental ‘Open Up’ and buzzsaw sonics of ‘Buzzkill(er)’, they strike gold. Elsewhere, there’s too much ‘spot the old Jack White riff ’ going on. Which is odd, because he’s chiefly on drums. Heck, at times we’re treading ZZ Top territory.
Perhaps, by their very nature, The Dead Weather lack a proper identity. The closest they get to that is when the vocal chemistry of Jack and Alison is in full effect –’Rough Detective’ is a fine example of how well they trade off each other. Ultimately,
Dodge And Burn is a worthwhile, quality endeavour, but you can’t help but feel the unremarkable moments dragging down the overall experience would only truly come alive on stage. And seeing Jack White is off the road for “for a long period of time”, that’s an opportunity missed.