I don’t usually do an entire piece on one album. I tend to write about music I like, want to introduce to people and compare the vinyl to digital recordings, plus I have a bad habit of wandering all over the place. So being tightly contained isn’t exactly my forte but there was an important reason. In my piece about Jack White I talked about his side project Dead Weather and their upcoming album. Well, it’s here and this ain’t no side project.
Having Dead Weather release their latest album a few days before my birthday was fortuitous. I ordered the special edition, yellow vinyl with chunks of black “debris”. It has an alternate cover featuring sandpaper flames and came with a 7” with different versions of I Feel Love and Cop & Go that can only be found on that disk as well as a poster, and a deck of cards with the band members as the face cards. This is through the 3rd Man Records Vault where you buy a quarterly membership and they send you cool stuff like this.
The vinyl was recorded on digital which surprised me a little bit. Nowadays most music on vinyl is digital but Jack has a reputation for still doing his albums in analog. However it’s clear he made sure that it was transferred to the vinyl in a manner that kept the integrity of the sound. I listened to the digital download that was provided and the needledrop done by The MND. There is no comparison. The vinyl wins hands down. The digital sounds fine, there is really nothing wrong with it, but the vinyl has deeper sound quality and doesn’t suffer from compression.
- I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) rips through the barn door to start the album using Dean Fertita’s guitar as a buzz saw and Allison Mosshart’s vocals as a flail. It makes damned sure you understand that this album means business and their business is to take no prisoners.
- The drums and guitars start things up on Buzzkillers in their trademark garage, fuzztone style but then they go for broke, swinging for the rafters and then dropping back down to make you think everything is safe before ripping it up again.
- Open Up start with a roar and builds from there. With fuzz guitars, swirling vocals, and swift back drums it’s like being caught in dark currants of a raging flood in a rubber raft with cyber rednecks in speed boats doing target practice at you. Allison’s voice is your only safety net.
- It’s hard to find things to say about Three Dollar Hat. It’s like Jack is trying to do this weird little song and Allison is spanking him by doing something just awesome in the middle.
- I’d say Lose The Right is the most like what I think of as a Dead Weather song. It has all the elements, complete with a spot for each person to go full tilt, drums, voice, guitar, keyboards. The dark elements and the bluesy base are all there.
- For the first time on the album Jack does some singing with Allison and it makes for a soundtrack to a movie I really want see on Rough Detective. Either that or an anime.
- Open Up starts with out with a roar and builds from there. It asks some questions that don’t have clear answers then answers them anyway.
- There are some songs that really highlight Allison’s voice and Be Still manages to do this by counterpointing it with Jacks. What sounds like the addition of a classic Moog makes the sound even more interesting.
- Allison doesn’t sound like herself on Mile Markers and that’s not a bad thing. She seems to have smoked a wonderful blend of Debbie Harry, Gwen Stefani, and Siouxsie Sioux. The band goes along with this playing a bit restrained by Dead Weather standards, at least until the end. It creates something new and very fun.
- Wind up the song real tight and let it go, then enjoy the show. That’s what they did with Cop and Go. The song is like a watch coming apart gear by gear, spring by spring. So beautiful, captivating, and scary.
- Laugh like a banshee, grind your guitar and cry to the wind. Too Bad is another song that has the feeling of classic Dead Weather (whatever that means for a band that only has two albums out). It’s not a bad thing, in fact it’s a very good thing.
- Impossible Winner on the other hand does not sound like anything they have done before. It is clean, tight, positive and not done for irony. You can hear that these musicians genuinely care about the song and its message.
- The hidden track is a Jack White special, just a half a minute under the paper and fun but not really anything to comment on. However I do appreciate the effort The MND went to getting it.
So all in all, this album is well worth your time and money.