[Third Man; 2009]

With The Dead Weather’s debut album Horehound, Jack White gives another album (and band) the golden touch by literally hiding golden tickets inside the Dead Weather’s released CD albums. Six lucky fans that happen to find these six tickets will get an all expenses paid trip to Nashville, TN to have a guided tour of Third Man Records. I spy a Wonka Bar craze full of ripped packaging and a poor little boy looking for hope inside the delicacy of the coco bean.

All contests aside, The Dead Weather delivers with Horehound. Jack White, the producer of this album, steps down from his familiar position as guitarist and lead vocalist to return to his musical roots – the drums. This allows for the other members of the Dead Weather to blossom. The Dead Weather has the predictable blues-infused rock, but the vocals change the dynamic of the sounds. Alison Mosshart (from The Kills) emerges as a diverse vocalist with “Horehound” and is truly the breakout star. Through her ebb and flow between verses as well as fiery eruptions, she establishes a new sound that goes back to the roots of The Kills – scrappy and badass rock.

While the Dead Weather follows the recognizable sound of the White Stripes and the Raconteurs, the former album has a richer atmosphere than albums produced by the two latter. This distinguishable aspect comes from the saucy voice of Mosshart as well as the blues-rock that soulfully carries throughout the whole album. “Horehound” showcases how Mosshart is breaking away from the most recent sound of The Kills.

Snare rolling into “60 Feet Tall,” the album invokes pleasant sentiments of small rock shows at that artsy college with way too many skinny pants and cigarette butts lining the hippest of venues. However, as the listener delves deeper into the tracks, the music is no longer rock, but rather the articulation of sinister blues. “Hang You From the Heavens” and “No Hassle Night” parallel each other. The rhythm is tripped up in order to break the monotony of the systematic blues-rock sound. As the energy accumulates through the progression of each track, “Will There Be Enough Water” returns back to the original haunted vibe to conclude an epic journey. It leaves the listener craving another drop of the vivid musical river.

The ferocious lyrics and sinister vibes of heavy bass repetition and steady, yet tuneful drumming by Jack White, make Horehound a charged compilation of music. The album is stylized, sexually charged, and trashy, but the greatest guilty pleasure of the summer. Ride into the night with the devil and then hang me out to dry.