Expectations for a project featuring members of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, the Kills, and Queens of the Stone Age would almost have to run high. After all, these are all bands that find ways to draw on the classic tenets of rock without sounding completely indebted to the past. Yet the Dead Weather – which combines the talents of Jack White, Jack Lawrence, Alison Mosshart, and Dean Fertita – aren't so much concerned with living up to expectations as they are about defying them. There's a different kind of alchemy on Horehound than on any of the bandmembers' other projects. Not only does White returns to his first instrument, the drums, he also trades in the high-pitched yelp he uses with the Stripes and Raconteurs for a deeper, at-times unrecognizable, voice on "I Cut Like a Buffalo," the lone Horehound track he wrote by himself.
Sea of Cowards arrived less than a year after the Dead Weather's debut, Horehound, an album that sounded like a bootleg of a 3 a.m. jam session – not a surprise, really, considering that the idea for the band came out of impromptu playing at Jack White's house. It’s also unsurprising that the Dead Weather evolved quickly, given that the group went from releasing Horehound to touring to recording again almost nonstop. Sea of Cowards isn’t a radical change from Horehound’s smoky, sludgy sound – if anything, White, Alison Mosshart, Dean Fertita, and Jack Lawrence go even deeper into their classic rock and blues fetishes – but it feels more organic, the product of a band instead of four separate personalities.
It took the Dead Weather two years to make and release Dodge and Burn, with the bandmembers recording whenever they had time to play together and issuing several songs as singles through Third Man's subscription service, The Vault. Despite these fragmented origins, this is the Dead Weather's most satisfying and engaging album, with everything that was good about their previous music getting a shot of adrenaline. The charged opening track, "I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)," is the first sign that things are a little different this time, with the spare swagger of '70s metal and boogie rock providing a platform for some of Dean Fertita's most unhinged guitar playing and some of Alison Mosshart's wildest vocals.
No sooner does he establish his White Stripes side project, the Raconteurs, as a fully fledged band, than the restless Jack White unveils his latest project, the Dead Weather. He has already described this record as "gothic blues". Here he hooks up with Alison Mosshart, singer of Anglo-American duo the Kills. She fronts the band with White ostensibly taking a backseat by playing drums, but his influence is everywhere; from the band name to the album title, a typically wry choice of word that turns an innocuous plant into an intimation of foreboding. The Dead Weather are given continuity with White's other musical activities through bassist Jack Lawrence, a carry-over from the Raconteurs, and rounded out by multi-instrumentalist Dean Fertita. The project came together through jam sessions that followed the end of a Raconteurs tour in 2008 (on which the Kills played as support) and was recorded over 15 days at the HQ of White's Third Man label in Nashville. (The Observer)