Friday, October 8, 2010

The Dead Weather: Sea of Cowards Album Review

Hi there!

How are we supposed to find great new music if it is never played on the radio? I only heard about The Dead Weather’s new album, Sea of Cowards, by accident. This is really good stuff.

The Dead Weather has some real talent going for it: Jack White, Alison Mosshart (the Kills), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs). There are a lot of shared responsibilities for percussion, drums, guitars and keyboards within the band, so I am not even going to try to sort it out.

By the way, how does Jack White keep going? He is three active bands, and in between recording and touring, I am surprised he can get it all done. This also makes it amazing that The Dead Weather was able to put out Sea of Cowards less than a year after their debut album Horehound.

The Dead Weather is a side-project for everybody involved, and you know what side-projects usually are: crap that cannot be put out by your regular band. Not that this is crap, or even unlistenable (is that a word?), but it is arty and experimental. Experimental blues rock, that’s it!

Well, maybe there is a good reason I have not heard this album on the radio. It is a little weird, and does not really have any songs that I can picture as being a radio-friendly hit. It is not a White Stripes album, for sure.

But don’t get me wrong, I like Sea of Cowards, but it took awhile to get used to it. I set it up as background music while I was writing a few weeks ago, and after a few listens, I started to appreciate it a lot more. It gets darker, sexier and more sordid the more I listen to it.

The dark and sexy vibe definitely comes from Alison Mosshart, who provides most of the vocals. Jack White also gets his fair share of vocal credit, although sometimes I am unsure who to attribute the various guttural growls and snarls to. They have a great chemistry, which adds to the overall sexual tension that I hear in the album.

The rest of their bandmates do a great job, with the overall vibe being rough and sleazy. The guitar lines are ragged and the rhythm of the bass and drums are throbbing. There are no real guitar hooks, which combined with the roughness of the music probably keeps Sea of Cowards off the radio. But I do not see this as self-indulgent, but as more of an adventure and a sign that the band is not trying to stay within the conventional rock box.

Anyway, I am running out of space here for today. Run out to your local record store and buy The Dead Weather’s Sea of Cowards. Just kidding, there are no record stores any more. Go download it and give it a few listens. It will be worth it.

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