by Guest Guest
May 17, 2010

I often find myself amazed by Jack White’s genius. The man is literally oozing with music. On the Dead Weather’s Sea of Cowards, Jack and his current band—made up of his chosen disciples—have created an album that beats down all doors en route to its very own genre. At first it seems the Dead Weather are simply expanding on the garage blues they stirred up on Horehound. But it’s never as black, white and red as it seems when it comes to a Jack White project. As the album progresses you come across everything from Dean Fertita’s dark psychedelic waves of sound on “The Difference Between Us” and “I’m Mad” to the slow burning, demonic funk featured on “No Horse.”

On Under the Great White Northern Lights (The White Stripes live documentary) White explains how in confining himself to a restricted box creatively, he forces himself to be creative. If this is true Jack must have laid some rules down for the new record—“Alright, guys, no choruses, I’ll be drumming like I’m twelve coffees deep and were doing the entire record in one take… that’s right, one take!” And it’s quite obvious that the group bought into that mind state. During the 35mins Sea of Cowards runs for the listener can expect to curl up in a corner out of fright, bust into a wild trance dance to the screaming organ, shadow box to the unrelenting pound of the snare drum and finally run out into the night and howl wildly at the moon.

The intensity and general distraught that drives the Dead Weather’s second EP begins with White and Alison Mosshart. The two share vocals on most tracks, comeing together to create howling harmonies that at points sound as one. For the first five seconds of the albums single, “Die by the Drop,” you might even think the band is trying to capture that electric feel—that is before Jack Lawrence lays down the thumping distorted bass line that Mosshart slowly begins to snarl over. Originally the opening track of the disc, “Blue Blood Blues,” was slated to be the first single—its understandable why—as soon as that first bass note hits some how your ears just know a hurricane of sound is about to erupt. Jack rambles in a dark blues rap making the edge on this disc unmistakable. But even with White being more involved vocally there’s no mistaking who fronts the band. On the track “Gasoline” it sounds like Mosshart is channeling Janis Joplin’s spirit from beyond the grave. But as Mosshart moans “to be afraid is a luxury” it becomes apparent that it’s entirely likely that the front woman is a pure reincarnation of the rock goddess.

Overall this is a hard album to rate. You may love the idea and sound that the Dead Weather created or you’re maybe just sick of Jack White. But regardless of your thoughts, this is something defiantly fresh in a music season full of remixes and auto tune.

out of 5 weasels.

Choice cuts: “Blue Blood Blues”, “Gasoline”, “Die By The Drop”

Click PLAY for a 30 second free MP3 of each track or the track name for lyrics in a new tab/window

  1. Blue Blood Blues
  2. Hustle And Cuss
  3. The Difference Between Us
  4. I’m Mad
  5. Die By The Drop
  6. I Can’t Hear You
  7. Gasoline
  8. No Horse
  9. Looking At The Invisible Man
  10. Jawbreaker
  11. Old Mary

“Die By The Drop” music video

“Looking at The Invisible Man” live from Third Man Records

“No Horse” live from Third Man Records

Never trust a rat. Support the artist and find out for yourself. WestCoastWeasel.com encourages purchasing Sea of Cowards locally at Red Cat Records in Vancouver, B.C, any independent record store of your choice or online here.

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