Let us not compare mythologies about whence (and how) the Dead Weather came. Jack White doesn’t like comparisons; they cheapen an inherently lazy, hazy profession. All this armchair quarterbacking us journalists do; only to invoke another man’s band to describe this man’s work. So let’s cut to the chase — this Horehound is one hell of a bitches brew. A primal, long snake moan of a Tennessee tornado warning. Indeed, those Jack Daniels-soaked Nashville back-porch nights must be somethin’ with these folks.

Alison Mosshart (of The Kills) has always been a snake-charming livewire; her unrestrained, unhinged delivery makes it sounds like a roof is fallin’ in here. Someone done someone wrong. Her feral nature hisses and purrs as White negotiates the switch, the cymbal and the spur behind her as they come together on “I Cut Like a Buffalo,” “Treat Me Like Your Mother,” and “Will There Be Enough Water?” — for a prairie-wasting, barn-burning nightmare of sex, sin and sloe gin.

Horehound is at once sparse, claustrophic, personal and opaque. The bleakness, the black and white, all culminates in the truest expression yet of White’s manic vision. This type of raw, “push the pin in, girl,” blues, the dirgy, grimy, grease guitar of Queens of the Stone Age’s Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence’s (Greenhornes, The Raconteurs) potent bass, creates a torrid, explosive cocktail akin to cocking shotguns in a shed. No, Mr. White, sure enough, romance ain’t dead. (Third Man Records/Warner Bros.) –Carrie Alison

  1. I love how the “snake-charming livewire” scolds in “Treat Me Like Your Mother.” I expect I speak for a lot of Mosshart’s male listeners when I say we would love to get dogged around and dressed down by her!


  2. [...] It got a tad sweaty, a lot blurry and made most of the folks standing around me, including the Raconteurs-loving dude loudly espousing his beliefs on Kings of Leon, a wee bit uncomfortable and hot around the collar. But perhaps that’s just the supposedly “uncool” lemming/supporter in me who happens to think this band is special. I don’t need the Dead Weather to convince me that they are reinventing blues rock or blues punk or any of the tired boxes they have been placed in. What I do know is that this band makes me believe several things, the most notable of which is that they are having a great time. The rest of it, the pop-up shops, the Third Man Vault, the incessant Internet bitching about “Dead MEHther” is ancillary to the fact that this band (however temporary they may or may not be) made an exciting, remarkable debut with Horehound. [...]

  3. Wow, what a well written review. I need to see what this band is about.


  4. [...] Every single particle was tracked and organized to be a long-player event. Unlike 2009’s Horehound with its torrential bluesy, sexual sludge, Sea of Cowards is a more curious, involved, [...]

  5. [...] that’s what I’m good at) and a Cheshire grin. The album was slept on more than its predecessor Horehound, but maybe by then the beautifully noisy novelty had worn off for the impatient and fanatical fans [...]