The Dead Weather: Slinky And Skulking

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The Dead Weather, a band you'd probably hear about even if its members weren't already famous, honors basic rock 'n' roll values. The quartet — The Kills' Alison Mosshart on vocals, Jack White of The White Stripes and The Raconteurs on drums and vocals, White's fellow Raconteur Jack Lawrence on bass, and guitarist/keyboardist Dean Fertita from Queens of the Stone Age — produces sultry, staunch hard rock, with themes of dirty love and the devil ripped right from the Mississippi Delta. Like everything White does, The Dead Weather feels familiar, at times even generic, but is so intensely stylized and focused that it works.

Friday's Pick

  • Song: "60 Feet Tall"
  • Artist: The Dead Weather
  • CD: Horehound
  • Genre: Blues-Rock
The Dead Weather i

The Dead Weather's "60 Feet Tall" is a clinic in the loud-soft drama that Led Zeppelin had perfected by 1970. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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The Dead Weather

The Dead Weather's "60 Feet Tall" is a clinic in the loud-soft drama that Led Zeppelin had perfected by 1970.

courtesy of the artist

The single "Treat Me Like Your Mother," like its coolly militant video, exercises more sustained intensity than most other pop songs exceeding four minutes. But The Dead Weather's strength lies in something looser and more textured, exemplified in Mosshart and Fertita's "60 Feet Tall."

The song (which leads off Horehound, the group's debut) is a clinic in the sort of loud/soft dynamics and suspense-filled dramatics that Led Zeppelin had perfected by 1970: slinky riffing, percussion that alternately skulks and lumbers, and verses that strut, ascend and dissolve before a huge-toned guitar solo splits the tune wide open. Lyrically, this is well-surveyed terrain — girls who can't let bad boys be, motoring down to Texas, bats out of hell — that plays to Mosshart's seductively diffident persona. As with that guitar solo, you could call the words cliches. But everything just feels too good for derogation.

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