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Fully clad in black leather like a 1970s punk outfit, The Dead Weather scream voodoo zombie blues more than “Anarchy in the U.K.” This quartet, Jack White’s third band, formed in Nashville last year and has already released two albums. Their latest, Sea of Cowards, is a strangely intriguing descent into madness and raw passion.
From the opening snaky-fuzzed riff of “Blue Blood Blues,” The Dead Weather reveal their motive: to assault listeners with an onslaught of psychedelic acid blues and apologize to no one. Splitting vocal duties, White (who mans the drums this time around) and Alison Mosshart (of The Kills) exchange growls and scratchy brays like two lovers amidst a violent, sex-crazed knife fight.
“I’m mad!” Mosshart screams in the track of the same name right before letting out a soft chuckle like a dancing demon. And Mosshart has plenty of noise to back her up: crunchy bass thumps courtesy of The Raconteurs’ Jack Lawrence and muddy, wailing guitar, keyboard and organ blasts from Queens of the Stone Age’s Dean Fertita.
Working in some sort of frenzied harmony, The Dead Weather keep the songs short—the longest clocking in at 3:46—and they never lose steam. There aren’t any “low points” to be found here—only aggressive, pulsating riff-based rock ‘n roll reminiscent of Led Zeppelin at their dirtiest. Sea of Cowards bites like a rattlesnake, but the venom is actually quite pleasing. Give The Dead Weather a try and let their bluesy venom overtake you.
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