Review: Horehound by Dead Weather

This may be pointless to say since this review I’m now living in Southern New Jersey, but “Horehound” by The Dead Weather is the perfect album to listen to while driving through Northwestern Pennsylvania in the month of October.

Okay, after re-reading that last sentence, I realized that I should embellish a bit more…

Imagine being on a rural country road. On one side there’s a farm. Cows are out in the pasture and the grass is a dull yellow. The fence that surrounds them is about to fall down, and you worry that if the cows brain grew just a wee bit more they’d totally figure out how to bust out of their jail. On the other side of the road there’s a cornfield. It was bountiful in the summer, but now all that remains are dead stalks which blow in the cool autumn wind. The sky is slightly grey and the sun won’t come back out until April. No matter where you drive, there’s always a rundown barn in sight.

That’s the vibe I’m getting from “Horehound”. Released July 14 2009, “Horehound” is The Dead Weather’s first album. Featuring Alison Mosshart (The Kills) on vocals and guitar, Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs) on drums, Dean Fertita (The Raconteurs, Queens of the Stone Age) on guitar and organ, and Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs, The Greenhornes) on bass, it’s easy to label this gang as an alternative rock super group. But they’re so much more than that…they’re a band with their own sound. Sure, there are elements of each members other projects in the mix, but none of those elements rise above the rest. They all come together like the ingredients of a soup. Everything balances each other out, and what you’re left with is something delicious.

However, one ingredient has to be the flavor that brings everything together, and to me lead vocalist Mosshart is the one to do that. Her voice cuts through every song and gives every track a fiery, haunting sound. “Hang You From The Heavens” and “Treat Me Like Your Mother” are pseudo metal tunes sung by some kind of dark angel. Try to imagine everything that Evanescence wants to be but never could be…ever. “So Far From Your Weapon” is a twisted blues track that meanders along but adds so much to the whole autumn vibe of the album. The instrumental “3 Birds” is a chaotic mix of time signatures and vibes, but it all ultimately works out in the end. “Will There Be Enough Water” ends the album on a lighter note, sounding like the type of music that plays while the film credits roll.

Since its early August when I’m writing this review, I can’t help but put this album away for awhile. It throws off my mind and puts me in an autumn mindset that is quickly crushed when I walk outside in the humid summer air. But I’ll be sure to dig it out come October. Who knows, maybe I’ll even take a trip to Northwestern Pennsylvania and use “Horehound” as the soundtrack to my trip.

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