When The Dead Weather released Horehound last year, the band was pretty widely known as Jack White’s other side project. Now, almost a year later, the White Stripes seem to be wrapping things up, the Raconteurs are largely inactive, and The Dead Weather are becoming the frontrunner for the title of Jack White’s day job. One thing is for sure, the band’s latest effort doesn’t sound much like a side project at all. Instead, Sea of Cowards showcases a killer band with a very evident chemistry tearing through some high quality and original material.
The gritty opening guitar riff on “Blue Blood Blues” starts the album with a bang, and there is not much drop off from there. The first half of the album is full of the more straightforward tunes while the second half plays almost like one big jam session – both satisfying in their own right. Allison Mosshart and Jack White take turns with their almost interchangeable vocals, but most of the album’s high points come with Mosshart at the helm. There is certainly a bluesy/classic rock feel to the album, but at the same time it is very original, providing a very fresh take on this solid foundation. Sea of Cowards is heavy at some points, strange and unsettling at others, but very catchy and accessible throughout.
There is no sophomore jinx with this album, in fact it is a more enjoyable listen than it’s predecessor. Sea of Cowards is very much a band album, with each member contributing to the songwriting and providing their own set of highlights on the recording. Listening to Sea of Cowards, it becomes pretty clear that The Dead Weather is not just a one-off side project, but instead a band that is just starting to hit it’s stride.