The Dead Weather are back. Dirtier, fuzzier and more un-hinged than ever before. The super-group consisting of Alison Mosshart (The Kills), Jack White (The White Stripes), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs) pack punches all over the place on album three, Dodge & Burn.
Their formation has long been based on quick blasts of creative energy and nailed on time-management. Album three was no different, the product of fleeting sessions, spread over a year and a half. Such constraints are to be expected when your members are all tied to active success stories elsewhere though and it’s something The Dead Weather have mastered from day one. Debut album Horehound (2009) proved just how effectively an outfit of such creative guile could work, despite time restrictions. Follow-up Sea of Cowards (2010) was no different, so five years on, there can surely be no doubt of album three… can there?
Well, if there was any lingering doubts in your mind of the effects unorthodox recording and spending five years apart could have, then they’re given the middle-finger treatment and sent on their way in 3 minutes, 16 seconds. Lead single and album fire-starter ‘I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)’ is The Dead Weather at their scintillating, destructive best. Alison Mosshart is on fire, that vocal ooze that does all-sorts to your body is back! If the recent live plug of the aforementioned lead single is anything to go, by Miss Mosshart hasn’t lost the sassiness in her hips either. Fertita brings dirty fuzz by the amp-load, as ever, the epitome of cool. White’s ferocity as beat-maker is alive and kicking, whilst Lawrence drifts by on bass, as Mr Reliable.
Following the lead release on the record is ‘Buzzkill(er)’, a track actually released last year to keep momentum building; slightly re-worked and sugar-coated for it’s place on the album, it’s gloss shines in a dirty mirror. Reminiscent of the earlier days, this ballsy fuzz-filled duet would be at home on either album previous as would ‘Let Me Through’. It’s not until ‘Three Dollar Hat’ that the album gets truly fresh and unstable. For 20 seconds you’d be forgiven for thinking you had a Portishead record on, atmosphere builds as White blasts into quick-witted vocalage. Mosshart takes over as this trippy tale of murder flips you into a hypnotic sweat. Truly wacked-out mayhem that has a slick swagger and lick of something shit-hot and fresh. Multi-vocal, almost Lazaretto inspired delights ‘Rough Detective’ and ‘Be Still’ follow suit as Mosshart and White trade blows in edgy fashion. Riff-tastic ‘Open Up’ doesn’t wait its turn either, barging in and flipping V’s all over the place, bouncing from wall to wall, amp to amp, ear to ear.
‘Mile Markers’ and ‘Cop & Go’ offer up final bursts of grungy, mud-stained noise before things get eerie. First there’s ‘Too Bad’ which has a root riff far too alike to ‘Another Way To Die’ for my nostalgia claws. Nonetheless, t’s trippy filth. That’s not the end of the eeriness though, it’s merely the start. The final track rolls with piano chimes and orchestral surroundings, something very unexpected. A ballad. Yes, that’s right: a ballad. Alison Mosshart lushly swoons over strings and keys on ‘Impossible Winner’ – something I never thought I’d hear. Strangely enough though, it works. The Weather’s inner retro vibes fuse a 60s melody perfectly, making the album’s gemstone to close.
In many ways it’s sad this album won’t be toured but in many other ways it’s great that it’s even here at all, evidently a group of mates craving to get together and let creativity flow. The fact may be that the end product isn’t the most together record this group have produced, but this fuzz jaunt doesn’t give a fuck about facts.
Dodge & Burn is out now via Third Man Records.
Words Jake Marley