Sea of Cowards

[Third Man/Warner Bros.]

The Dead Weather was never going to be a song band. The supergroup’s 2009 debut Horehound seemed mostly an opportunity for White Stripes singer and guitarist Jack White to climb behind the drums and lay down some of the darkest, most depraved blues grooves imaginable with the help of three like-minded friends. Sea of Cowards, the quartet’s sophomore disc, is even less rooted in traditional songwriting than its predecessor. Each track seems to have been built in roughly the same order: riff, sneer, beat, hook. As voiced by singer Alison Mosshart of similar-sounding duo the Kills, the Dead Weather’s lyrics amount to vague threats and sinister sex talk. Guitarist Dean Fertita and bassist Jack Lawrence provide blunt, fuzzy riffs, horror-show organ and post-apocalyptic synths to match. Set against White’s heavy-funk attack, the songs are greasy, anxious and thoroughly swinging.


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