Jack White’s new project erupts with chemistry.
The gritty, filthy sex appeal that characterizes the Dead Weather’s debut album from the very first track surges and throbs throughout the entire record, as Jack White’s “supergroup” simultaneously lives up to the hype and defies expectations. “Little Jack” Lawrence’s scuzzy bass lines lend a thick, viscous tension to tracks like “60 Feet Tall,” while former Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Dean Fertita stamps his own brand of alt-metal on the record by bringing a volatile, almost-metal aggression to “New Pony” and the explosive “No Hassle Night.” White sticks to the drums and vocals, but he abandons his signature nasal whine for both bluesy warbles (“Will There Be Enough Water”) and abrasive growls. The gem of the record, however, is Alison Mossheart, who moans, groans and shrieks her way alongside White’s erratic drumming with vocals that recall a Bromley Contingent-era Siouxie Sioux. Mossheart’s rasping conjures up a torrid storm that thunders in tracks like “Bone House.” The two share a searing chemistry that recalls both the sooty punk of the Kills and the smokey blues-rock of the White Stripes, while somehow deftly avoiding a tidy marriage of the two. Yet with such an array of influences at their hands, from White’s own cowpunk credentials to Lawrence’s freewheeling alt-pop with the Raconteurs, Horehound avoids simply sounding like an rock encyclopedia. Rather, the foursome weave a dizzying web of traditions into their own rough-hewn sound, dragging vestiges of alt-rock, punk and blues through the mud to achieve an album rife with brash dissonance.