CD Review: The Dead Weather

Horehound (Third Man)

The first thing you should know about this collaboration between the White Stripes' Jack White, the Kills' Alison Mosshart, the Raconteurs' Jack Lawrence and Queens of the Stone Age's Dean Fertita is that White plays drums. The second thing you should know is that the drums are louder than anything else on the album. It's not surprising that White, who produced Horehound and owns the Dead Weather's label Third Man, should position himself at the wheel of the project. What is surprising is that despite White's heavy hand, Horehound still finds Mosshart breaking through as the band's yowling vocalist. The raw, underproduced tracks combine the aesthetics of blues, alt-country and rock for an evocative, compelling effect. "Treat Me Like Your Mother" is the album's standout, with clanging cymbals and the bizarre intersecting of Mosshart's emotive shrieks and White's understated growl. The reverb-heavy "New Pony" re-imagines a lesser-known Bob Dylan song as a harrowing, echoing number that makes you truly believe Mosshart when she yelps, "Come over here, pony!" White may be the man with the plan (and the songwriting talent on tunes like the hushed closing duet "Will There Be Enough Water"), but it's Mosshart you're really listening to — Emily Zemler