The Dead Weather Come Back to Life with ‘Dodge and Burn’
Alternative rock supergroup The Dead Weather are alive and well with their highly anticipated new album, “Dodge and Burn.” Released on Sept. 25, it is the third studio offering by the band that was formed in Nashville, Tennessee in 2009.
“Dodge and Burn” is riding on the huge success of its previous two studio releases. Their debut album, “Horehound,” released in July of 2009, entered the Billboard 200 Album Chart at No. 6. Their immediate sophomore follow-up, “Sea of Cowards,” released in May of 2010, peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200.
The first single from “Dodge and Burn,” the highly charged “Open Up (That’s Enough),” was released digitally back in January 2014. The rebellious cut, “Buzzkill(er),” was later released in November 2014. The music video for “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)” was released on Aug. 21 displaying the relentless sound and feel of the album.
The Dead Weather consists of lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and keyboardist Alison Mosshart of The Kills and Discount, Queens of the Stone Age guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist Dean Fertita, bassist, backing vocalist and drummer Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs and lead vocalist, guitarist and drummer Jack White, formerly of The Raconteurs and The White Stripes.
Though the band seems to have all their bases covered within their plethora of talents, the group currently have no plans on touring in support of “Dodge and Burn.” Other than an occasional live reunion such as their recent performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Aug. 28, they seem content to fall back into their day jobs and other side projects.
Frontwoman Mosshart, influenced by the stage presence and personas of Janis Joplin and Patti Smith, delivers sensual and deliberate vocals. The culmination of her vocal style can also be heard as a reincarnated female version of legendary Led Zeppelin frontman, Robert Plant. Like Plant, she croons and wails each lyrical phrase with intense, emotional force.
Musically, The Dead Weather lock into many grooves and riffs that are a mix of different styles and tastes. What dominates “Dodge and Burn” is the eclectic mix of Zeppelin-esque motifs infused with blues, big unison rhythm lines and the Hendrix, Electric Ladyland vibe.
“Dodge and Burn” opens with the track, “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)” in which Mosshart cries out, “I feel love every once in awhile.” The unmistakable Jimmy Page sounding guitar riffs and the group’s playing with musical time hook you into the record’s infectious tone.
Midway into the set, the mood of “Open Up” is a roller coaster ride of emotion driven by inner conflict and angst. Propelled by a massive guitar riff reminiscent of an early Rush record, Mosshart asks, “Have you noticed the rivers and the clocks, they’re not moving?” The track is another huge serving of introspection that is found in most of the songs of “Dodge and Burn.”
Other tracks such as “Lose the Right,” “Mile Markers” and “Cop and Go” further demonstrate the band’s diverse musical tastes and abilities. There is not a dull moment in listening from track to track, the bombastic, carefree energy and range of haunting lyrics and melodic phrasings.
“Impossible Winner,” the album’s closing track, takes a different turn from the album’s previous sonic themes. Mosshart’s straight-ahead vocal approach accompanied by the lush piano pad, building string ensemble and rising rhythm section is a melancholy ballad that pays homage to the Queen sound and those moments in a Broadway show as the climactic emotional piece.
“Dodge and Burn” is a great addition to any music collection that reflects not just The Dead Weather’s sound, but their myriad of musical influences. After a five-year studio hiatus, it has been well worth the wait.