Unbiased reviews of new vinyl releases, audiophile reissues, and more

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Dead Weather - Horehound 180 gram vinyl review

Jack White is back with his latest supergroup, The Dead Weather, and their first release, Horehound. With Jack White (The White Stripes and The Raconteurs) on drums/vocals, Jack Lawerence (The Raconteurs, The Greenhornes) on bass, Alison Mosshart (The Kills) on lead vocals, and Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) on guitar, synthesizer, and organ, White shows once again that he has a knack for bringing just the right mix of talent together.

Funky grooves, fuzzed-out bass, eerie organ lines, Cream-era fuzztone guitars, vocals straight from hell, and White's John Bonham-inspired drumming combine to create a consistent mood throughout the record that evokes part Crossroads, part Hell's Kitchen. For those who found Robert Plant's foray into the swamp with Alison Krauss much too angelic, this Alison goes the opposite direction, and her vocals, like White's, take the listener to a much darker place--in fact, their voices are so similar, that when they're singing together, their voices tend to meld together as one.

The Dead Weather

The vinyl is packaged in a gatefold cover of medium weight card stock and contains two 180 gram vinyl discs, three sides of which contain music. The fourth side has an impression of the cover. While this release doesn't have the super premium vinyl packaging of White's last effort, Consolers of the Lonely, it is housed in poly-lined paper sleeves and includes a two-page sheet containing lyrics and album credits. The vinyl, which feels all of 180 grams, arrived flat, clean, and played quietly without surface noise.

While the liner notes don't give a vinyl mastering credit, WG/NRP is credited in the deadwax. Horehound was released on White's new Third Man Records and was reportedly recorded, mixed, and mastered in the analog domain. Like White's previous couple of releases, this record sounds fantastic, and should satisfy all but the most fussy audiophiles.

Dripping with organic tone, the sound on Horehound is well-balanced, with well extended highs and liquid mids, yet it never gets too bright. The kick-drum and funky bass tones are also well represented, if only a bit less ground shaking than those on the Kevin Gray mastered Consolers of the Lonely. At times, the recording even takes on a live quality, with ambient sounds adding textures to an otherwise black background. Room ambience is also apparent, further adding to the live quality of the record.

Alison Mosshart, Jack White III, Jack Lawrence, Dean Fertita (from left to right)

While this effort can't be solely credited to Jack White, much of the outstanding recording and production values can. Although not quite as consistent as Consolers of the Lonely, Horehound is what fans of Sixties and Seventies rock yearn for and just don't get that often anymore--great sounding, organic rock and roll that also sounds new, and takes you someplace you've never been before.



Blank said...

Sadly not all you read/hear about is true. I've done extensive analysis of my vinylcopy of Horehound, and I've concluded that it's CD master sourced, due to a few reasons such as: clipping on identical sections of audio, very similar waveform (compressed, not too dynamic), and not to mention the sharp dropoff around 20-21k that's exhibited on the CD.

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