Dead Weather: Sea of Cowards

The Dead Weather: Sea of Cowards

Jack White’s latest band The Dead Weather released their sophomore album Sea Of Cowards a few weeks ago.

Filled with the same dark undertones and sinister tracks as their first album, Sea OfCowards, released by White’s Third Man Records, has some very catchy hit tunes and a few others that felt a bit like fillers. White’s drumming is always front and center on every song, mixed with the threatening tone of Alison Mosshart’s voice.

The Dead Weather has a sound that is electronic rock with emo flashes. The band attacks the ears on the album, but accosts the senses live.

“Blue Blood Blues” opens the CD and has White singing along with Mosshart, the frontwoman of The Dead Weather. The best line in the track is when White sings, “All the white girls trip, when I sing at Sunday service.” Interesting lyrics, considering a young Jack White had once planned to become a priest after beingaccepted to a seminary in Wisconsin.

“Hustle And Cuss” has a trademark feel soundwise, with Mosshart singing and White helping on a few verses. While the song is good, it isn’t that catchy. It just kind of sits there and rolls through.

“The Difference Between Us” comes next and is electric, highlighting guitarist/keyboardist Dean Fertita. Once a member of Queens of the Stone Age, Fertita joined White first in the Raconteurs and eventually became the guitar/keyboard artist in The Dead Weather. He has a style that mixes many forms of rock, but he moves around and finds a nice medium to present his portion of the band’s sound.

“I’m Mad” carries on the same feel, but has a “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” quality with the lyrics “I’m Mad” being maniacally repeated again and again by Mosshart. Midway through the tune it changes, unleashing the band’s full fury.

“Die By The Drop” was the single released off of Cowards, and has a nice level playing field of singing by Mosshart and White. It is catchy and probably the second best song on the entire album. After seeing the band live I am excited to hear this one in person next month. (The Dead Weather is coming to First Avenue in mid-July) The lyrics “I’m gonna take you for worse or better” exhibit the spin that the band puts on everything it interprets. The beat is tight in the song and lays down the track for the band to ride on.

“No Horse”,“Gasoline” and “I Can’t Hear You” fill the CD and are decent tunes, but they all sound more like they were left over songs from their debut album Horehound. There is a cool solo played in “Gasoline” with two guitars, a treat live would be to see both Fertita and White play together. At the shows I saw the band play in last summer White came out from behind the drum kit to play guitar on, “Will There Be Enough Water,” and that was it.

Then, just as you are dismissing the album, the song “Jawbreaker” plays toward the end. It steals the entire disc and is worth the price and patience of getting through the other songs leading up to it. The steady beat tapped out by White, mixed with the potent guitar licks of Fertita, are infectious. It is the pinnacle of what the band has produced and was written during their last tour. After seeing many Youtube clips from audience recordings it was a treat to finally hear a studio version of the tune. If MTV actually played videos anymore this would be very popular with the younger generation. “Jawbreaker” spins around with the cymbals keeping the piece humming. It should be released as a single.

The final song on the album, “Old Mary” reminds me of Cloud Cult.

The hardest part of watching and listening to The Dead Weather is that the greatest guitarist of a generation is sitting behind the drums. While he is an awesome drummer, it is really agonizing as a fan to never hear a Raconteurs or White Stripes song played live. A few years ago during the last White Stripes tour my wife and I had tickets and planned to see the band in Fargo. Meg White, drummer of the White Stripes, allegedly had a nervous breakdown, so the tour was cancelled mid-way through Canada’s early leg. I still regret not driving to Thunder Bay earlier that month to see the band. However, the recent release of Under the Great White Northern Lights, which follows their far-flung Canadian tour, soothes some of the pain; the operative word there being ‘some.’