Published Sep 25, 2015The White Stripes were known for their candy-cane colour palette of red and white, a cutesy image that complemented a sound that tempered their mix of primitive garage-blues and childlike innocence. Jack White's band the Dead Weather employ a sonic palette that's jet black.
There's nothing remotely cute about the group's third album, Dodge and Burn, which channels White's primal blues leanings without a trace of his signature sense of humour. As with the rest of the Dead Weather's releases, White serves as the drummer and secondary vocalist, and is joined by front woman Alison Mosshart (The Kills), bassist Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs) and guitarist Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age).
These collaborators hold nothing back in terms of aggression: the amps are constantly cranked to 11 and Mosshart yowls ferociously, while White shows that he's every bit as merciless behind the kit as he is on guitar. This venomous approach makes it all the more surprising when the group throw in a WTF-worthy curveball, such as the squalling rap-rock oddity "Three Dollar Hat" (which sounds like Modest Mouse fucking around with an arpeggiator) or the closing orchestral piano ballad "Impossible Winner."
"Open Up" is the best track here by a mile: the hair-raising guitar breaks cut even deeper than the usual blues-rock riffage, while some plinky overdubs add a sonic depth otherwise missing from the dark, angry album. But even if Dodge and Burn is a little low on subtlety, there's no question that the Dead Weather have succeeded in their mission to melt a few faces and assault speakers. (Third Man Records)