During their day jobs as front-people for fuzzed out, sexually tense blues duos — The White Stripes and The Kills, respectively — Jack White and Alison Mosshart put out some of the most mysterious, raw, and earth-shaking music in rock and roll. Their involvement instantly endows any project with an air of mystery and the promise of excellence.
And that’s what makes The Dead Weather such a bore.
The pairing of White and Mosshart should have been an inspired one, but The Dead Weather’s debut album, last year’s Horehound, failed to deliver on the collaboration’s potential. White and Mosshart’s usual playfulness was mysteriously absent, replaced by a hammy self-seriousness that was far from exciting.
The video for “Die by the Drop” — from the forthcoming Sea of Cowards — is a perfect example of the side project at its most pointless. With its dull hooks and laughable, darker-than-dark aesthetic, the clip feels tailor-made for the Hot Topic crowd. Mosshart’s powerful pipes are washed away by bloated, cock-rocking guitar, and White’s professed reason for drumming in the band — to achieve some semblance of anonymity — might be more believable if he didn’t hog the spotlight so much.
The fact that we get another Dead Weather album after only ten months, but have to wait years between White Stripes and Kills records, only adds to the frustration. Though, in the end, maybe that will be The Dead Weather’s one true contribution to music: giving White and Mosshart a way to put out subpar work without tarnishing the legacies of their real bands.