Thin Line Between Stupid and Clever

Opining on Whatever

My Useless Opinion: The Dead Weather’s Sea of Cowards

If you’re not familiar with The Dead Weather’s, this is Jack White’s other, other band.  While The Raconteurs allow White to play around with his poppier side, The Dead Weather allows him to throw himself full force into fuzz and distortion.  Imagine a blues band gone punk and you have the general idea.  Sea Cowards, the band’s followup to Horehound, was released this week clocking in at barely over 30 minutes playing time. Unfortunately, there is no significant improvement form their first and their first was not impressive. 

There is no question that every member of this band is talented.  Everyone knows what Jack can do, but Alison Mosshart (The Kills), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age), and Jack Lawrence (The Greenhornes and The Raconteurs) have all achieved success in their own right.  The vocals and instruments are tight, at least when you can hear them, and herein lies the main problem.  The album is too loud.  Loud to the point where significant portions of the album are little more than noise.  White has always been fond of distortion, but distortion and fuzz cover everything here.  White’s and Mosshart’s vocals sound suffocated for most of the album, with the brief reprieves leaving you wishing there were more.

There are a couple bright spots worth checking out.  “Gasoline” could be found on a White Stripes album, while “Hustle and Cuss” has the kind of swagger that only dirty blues can give you.  Unfortunately, the bright spots are swallowed up by too little melody and too much fuzz and distortion.  This is the kind of album you imagine was extremely fun to make, with everyone turning their amps to eleven and playing as loud and fast as possible.  If only it were as much fun to listen to.

Verdict: If you must hear everything Jack White (like myself) then give this a listen.  If not, time will be better spent with The White Stripes or Raconteurs.

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