Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Dead Weather - Horehound (Album Review)

The Dead Weather - Horehound

I bet you didn't guess upon first glance that the woman above is Allison Mosshart from The Kills, and Jack White of the White Stripes plays drums (and guitar) on this. As a fan of both bands this came as a very sweet surprise (Midnight Boom + Icky Thump = both like onomatopoeia?), and well, what could go wrong - Allison and Jack are both in their prime, and yes, rest assured... while not all perfect, there is some really in-your-face skin-melt rock here.

The funny thing is Allison sounds a lot like Jack sometimes, however that lil' nitpick aside they both harmonize absolutely beautifully together. Though I must note with bemusement that a cursory glance at the back of the album Horehound revealed a rather obtuse "darker than black" album theme, really Halloween type spooky-ghouly stuff. For example, all the artwork and especially song titles: "Hang You From The Heavens" and "Bone House" (to the laughably titled closer "Will There Be Enough Water?").

Hang You From The Heavens is very much the limp leg of this animal, with Jack White interjecting just to mindlessly spout "aye-e" (and this was the single, by the way). One of the best songs on the album is "I Cut like A buffalo" - Allison and Jack seem to work best in harmony, however the lyrics are seldom clever, and the song kind of suffers from a bit of Too Much Going On Syndrome, but even so, the analogy "stand up like a tower" is passable. The riffs in "Rocking Horse" are hard-hitting, entertaining, and needle-pointed. Then lo and behold there's "Nice Pony" (horse, pony, nice theme) which is actually a cover of an old Bob Dylan song kept alive by near-livid guitar playing. Then there's "Bone House" which isn't all that bad per se but simply reminds me of the fact that Jack White really likes putting the word "bone" (or bones) in a song title - for example: Raconteurs (jack White side-project): Store Bought Bones. The White Stripes: Bone Broke. And finally, the Dead Weather: Bone House. Again, nice theme, now just tell me what the fuck it means (if anything?).

In any case, Bone House passes by very quickly, it's a fun little rock 'n roll body twister with a spectacular solo. Plus the song starts off with maracas and electronic sounds, and an utterly mind molesting megariff at around 1:37 (arguably the best on the whole album). Also, an odd little slow you down song is "3 Birds" which is actually quite refreshing (no lyrics), and all in all this album is pretty fucking tight (think an unripe peach) - much like the recently released self-titled debut from "Them Crooked Vultures" - the only real shit-bomb on here is "No Hassle Night" which admittedly sucks 60 kinds of horse cock. Which reminds me... I almost forgot to mention "60 Feet tall" - which is actually the album opener - one of my current faves what with the slow to ultra-loud buildup and practically musing bass playing.

The Dead Weather: Horehound is dark, dreary, dense and pretty damn redundant at times, but it still has enough hook-splashed "crunchy guitar" flavor to keep/merit your attention for a little while. The music here is anything but "dead," however it's just not as refreshing as either of the singer's respective bands. Srsly.

Final verdict: 4 out of 5

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