The Dead Weather: Dodge & Burn

Garage blues, same as always.

- Would you like your mainstream artists to challenge you, break free of established mores, defy genre conventions and deliver insight that transcends the zeitgeist? Well, everyone’s favourite frontier-undertaker slash Requiem For A Dream cosplayer, Jack White, is back with garage-passion project, The Dead Weather, to not do exactly that.

While the title of their third album, Dodge and Burn, sounds like an evasive RPG manoeuvre, it actually takes its name from a pair of photographic techniques that Adobe auteurs might qualify simply as light and dark. The album certainly flirts with the notion, albeit in as oblique a way as the title does, yet it spends the majority of its time lingering in the diffuse grey shadows of an overcast day.

At this point, The Dead Weather are purveyors of a settled sound, and while it’s still thick with distortion and audible grit, it doesn’t feel as desperate anymore, and lacks a certain amount of imperative urgency. Alison Mosshart’s vocals are still as violently sultry as you could hope for and White’s needling meerkatery is kept to an astounding minimum during the twelve tune run, only truly featuring on the one track, Three Dollar Hat, a song that sounds like beat poetry performed by a ‘90’s grunge band with a broken synthesiser. Actually, it’s one of the better tracks off the album, simply because it stands at a distance from the rest, except for the closer, Impossible Winner, which sounds like the kind of disaffected West Coast dirt-pop that Lana Del Rey might call a career, but could almost pass for soul if you were to squint into introspection.

Dodge and Burn is not a great album, which is not to say it’s bad, just that it sounds exactly as you’d expect it to. The Dead Weather have perfected their garage-blues routine and nail every note, even if it means turning a key so hard it warps beyond recognition, but there’s very little here to differentiate itself beyond being more material from a band you probably like. In a couple of years someone might ask you what your favourite Dead Weather album is/was, and you could say Dodge and Burn, or you might just as likely shrug and say, ‘I don’t know, don’t they all sound the same?’

- Nic Addenbrooke.

 

Album Details

Album Title: Dodge & Burn
Artist: The Dead Weather
Record Label: (Third Man / Warner)