Southern gothsters The Dead Weather has always been a beast forged in quick blasts of creativity. After all, when your entire band consists of members from four different successful outfits, time is indeed precious and rare.
With third outing 'Dodge And Burn' the quartet had to resort to grabbing fleeting days over a year and half to create an album's worth of material in Nashville, releasing four of these numbers previously to keep up momentum. The question is: has this resulted in a lack of cohesive, quality jams? Luckily, no. Rather - the band has decided to go even more batshit crazy and up the ante on their trademark ferocity.
Opening number and lead single proper (ignoring the previously released tasters) 'I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)' is classic Dead Weather. A Led Zep-indebted groove proceeds over some pretty impressive drum work from Mr. White while Allison Mosshart only solidifies the transition she's made from underground indie goddess to one of the most exciting singers out there. Following 'Buzzkill(er)' continues with the same ballsy confidence and would happily fit on previous release 'Sea Of Cowards'. It's not until 'Three Dollar Hat', however, that the album finds its very unstable and violent feet.
You can almost feel the band looking at the clock as they erupt into a trippy tale of murder complete with the most whacked out vocals Jack White has put to tape. While tonally it might fit in with some of the previous two albums' more eccentric moments, it stands apart due to the sheer intensity and lick of insanity it contains. 'Rough Detective' follows suit with a multi-vocal break down (that sounds just like a mental breakdown) before the listener is lulled out with gentle cymbal work just to mess with you further. Then comes 'Open Up', a track that drags you back onto the roller coaster with a scream and snarling punk guitar. It's a standout moment and one that'll be shame not to see live due to the group's other commitments.
'Mile Markers' proves the album's peak - every member bringing their all to this stream-of-consciousness tale of twisted boys and girls. Jazz drumming has not been put over something so pissed since the days of Jimmy Chamberlin. Ironically 'Too Bad' proves the album's only misstep simply for the fact the root riff sounds a bit too close for comfort to Jack White and Alicia Keys' Bond theme 'Another Way To Die'. Then comes a massive curveball with finisher 'Impossible Winner', a string and piano led ballad. Yes: ballad. It's sweeping, melodic and quite frankly fantastic. It's the kind of thing Dusty could have been giving in the 60s and somehow, with the Weather's retro-indebted noise, it works.
'Dodge and Burn' is a sassy ball of madness coming at your ears at 120mph and, while it might not be the most together record these peeps have recorded, it succeeds due to its pure will to do so.
Words: Sam Walker-Smart
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