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Alternative & Indie - Released May 7, 2010 | Third Man - Warner Bros.

Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks
Sea of Cowards arrived less than a year after the Dead Weather's debut, Horehound, an album that sounded like a bootleg of a 3 a.m. jam session -- not a surprise, really, considering that the idea for the band came out of impromptu playing at Jack White's house. It’s also unsurprising that the Dead Weather evolved quickly, given that the group went from releasing Horehound to touring to recording again almost nonstop. Sea of Cowards isn’t a radical change from Horehound’s smoky, sludgy sound -- if anything, White, Alison Mosshart, Dean Fertita, and Jack Lawrence go even deeper into their classic rock and blues fetishes -- but it feels more organic, the product of a band instead of four separate personalities. A quick glance at the album’s liner notes shows they wrote these songs in almost every conceivable combination, yet Sea of Cowards sounds more cohesive: dense and charged like the air just before a rainstorm, replete with fat basslines and heavy organ solos equally inspired by ‘70s album rock and silent movie scores. Most of Horehound's loose ends have been trimmed, but Sea of Cowards still has plenty of weird moments. Witness the lunging lead single and album opener “Blue Blood Blues,” which shows just how much more solid and dynamic the Dead Weather became since their debut -- and also features breathy backing vocals that are more than a little creepy. Sea of Cowards also fulfills Horehound's promise of letting Mosshart be the band’s frontwoman. She carries many of these songs, adding spark and shade to their monochromatic tones. “The Difference Between Us” is a particularly bright spotlight for her, showcasing her intense vocals as the band’s blues-rock takes on a dark, sci-fi pop edge thanks to an eerie keyboard riff. Her interplay with White is also more intuitive and exciting: on “Hustle and Cuss,” they switch between singing lead and harmony, with White taking a high part and Mosshart the commanding low; on the trippy blues-metal workout “I’m Mad,” their voices are almost interchangeable, suggesting they could be brother and sister. Like Horehound, most of Sea of Cowards' songs grapple with the yin-yang of love and hate, with “Die by the Drop” and “Gasoline” yielding some of the most potent results. The album’s deviations from the Dead Weather's signature sound are also more distinct than they were on Horehound, but Sea of Cowards' weirdest track is all White's: “Old Mary,” a psychedelic dirge that plays on the verses of the Catholic prayer “Hail Mary,” closes the album on a unique, if unsettling, note. Sea of Cowards is often cryptic and almost always unrepentantly old-fashioned, its A-side featuring most of the singles and its B-side playing like one long jam. White and company make almost no concessions to their audience, and fewer songs stand out here than they did on Horehound. And yet, this is a more satisfying album overall. Fortunately, Sea of Cowards' mysteries are more intriguing than frustrating. ~ Heather Phares
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£13.99

Rock - Released September 25, 2015 | Third Man Records

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It took the Dead Weather two years to make and release Dodge and Burn, with the bandmembers recording whenever they had time to play together and issuing several songs as singles through Third Man's subscription service, The Vault. Despite these fragmented origins, this is the Dead Weather's most satisfying and engaging album, with everything that was good about their previous music getting a shot of adrenaline. The charged opening track, "I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)," is the first sign that things are a little different this time, with the spare swagger of '70s metal and boogie rock providing a platform for some of Dean Fertita's most unhinged guitar playing and some of Alison Mosshart's wildest vocals. If there's any question that Mosshart is a great singer, Dodge and Burn puts it to rest; throughout the album, she uses her ability to be tough, vulnerable, and sexy -- often at the same time -- to perfection. The way she snarls "I'm a bad man" on the glowering "Let Me Through" is scarier, and more compelling, than if any of her male bandmates had sung it. Meanwhile, "Three Dollar Hat," one of Jack White's few lead vocal turns, is a hip-hop-tinged tale of revenge that reaffirms he's always been more than a by-the-book revivalist. Elsewhere, the album's loose, try-anything feel honors the band's roots in impromptu jam sessions, whether it's Jack Lawrence's creeping bassline on "Buzzkill(er)" or the organ on "Lose the Right," which falls somewhere between dub and vintage horror movie music. However, the Dead Weather don't just rely on chemistry and chops -- Dodge and Burn also boasts some of their best-written songs. With its stark riffs and dense paranoia, "Open Up" rivals the best work from any of White's other projects, while "Mile Markers"' layered menace and sensuality make it a standout. There's a seedy, predatory undercurrent to songs like "Be Still," "Cop and Go," and "Too Bad" that suggests the album could be the soundtrack to a gritty crime drama, with the gloriously melodramatic ballad "Impossible Winner" (which may be an even better showcase for Mosshart's sentimental side than the Kills' "The Last Goodbye") playing as the credits roll. Perhaps the first time the Dead Weather have truly lived up to their promise, Dodge and Burn is a joyride of an album -- sexy, fun, and dangerous, it upholds the tenets of rock & roll. ~ Heather Phares
£10.49

Alternative & Indie - Released July 13, 2009 | Columbia

Expectations for a project featuring members of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, the Kills, and Queens of the Stone Age would almost have to run high. After all, these are all bands that find ways to draw on the classic tenets of rock without sounding completely indebted to the past. Yet the Dead Weather -- which combines the talents of Jack White, Jack Lawrence, Alison Mosshart, and Dean Fertita -- aren't so much concerned with living up to expectations as they are about defying them. There's a different kind of alchemy on Horehound than on any of the bandmembers' other projects. Not only does White returns to his first instrument, the drums, he also trades in the high-pitched yelp he uses with the Stripes and Raconteurs for a deeper, at-times unrecognizable, voice on "I Cut Like a Buffalo," the lone Horehound track he wrote by himself. The Dead Weather's sound isn't so much heavy as it is thick with a tense atmosphere that's sustained throughout most of the album, and the group shuns the tighter structures of their other bands for a bluesy, jammy grind. Horehound's opening track, "60 Feet Tall," shows just how explosive this sound can be, from the teasing guitars and percussion that begin it to its lunging climax. Sexual tension is one of the few constants between the Dead Weather and White and Mosshart's other bands, and they use it particularly well on "Hang You from the Heavens" and "Treat Me Like Your Mother," where their vocals and the lyrics "left, right, left, right" suggest a dance, or a fight, or something in between. Despite all the star power in this project, Mosshart's vocals are the main attraction: she snarls, croons, and sighs, displaying all the charisma she has in the Kills plus more nuance. She takes her voice to places she hasn't explored with her main project: "So Far from Your Weapon," which she wrote on her own, boasts an hypnotic groove and an oddly jazzy undercurrent, thanks to her smoky singing and White's rolling drums. Indeed, her voice and White's are usually the loudest elements on the album, with Fertita and Lawrence ably filling in the gaps between the pair's towering presences. Horehound's loose-limbed immediacy often feels like a particularly inspired rehearsal, especially on the cover of Bob Dylan's "New Pony," which gets amped up with huge grungy riffs and shouted backing vocals. This looseness also allows the band to indulge flights of fancy like the instrumental "3 Birds" and "Rocking Horse"'s menacing surf-jazz. However, the Dead Weather's chemistry fizzles on the more unfocused tracks, and as gripping as their sound is, it can get claustrophobic. The songs that break from the pack are among the best. "Bone House" layers programmed and live drums with creepy falsetto vocals and some great guitar work from Fertita, and "Will There Be Enough Water?"'s drifting acoustic blues provides the calm after Horehound's storm. Given the fact that the Dead Weather formed on a whim and recorded these songs in a matter of weeks, Horehound is a compelling album, and one that shows that the band's members bring out the best in each other, albeit in unexpected ways. ~ Heather Phares
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Rock - Released September 18, 2015 | Third Man Records

£2.99

Alternative & Indie - Released August 3, 2009 | Columbia

£1.99

Alternative & Indie - Released June 25, 2010 | Third Man - Warner Bros.

£2.99

Alternative & Indie - Released August 3, 2009 | Columbia

£1.99

Alternative & Indie - Released March 30, 2010 | Warner Bros.

£4.49

Alternative & Indie - Released October 26, 2009 | Columbia

£2.99

Alternative & Indie - Released October 26, 2009 | Columbia

£1.99

Rock - Released September 4, 2015 | Third Man Records

£2.49

Alternative & Indie - Released April 23, 2010 | Third Man - Warner Bros.

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