Dodge and Burn marks the return of the supergroup The Dead Weather following the five year gap since their sophomore release Sea of Cowards in 2010. The great minds of Alison Mossart (The Kills), Jack White (formerly of The White Stripes), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age), and Jack Lawrence (The Greenhornes) come together once again to compose a new-wave gothic rock album.
Let’s start by acknowledging the album’s cover art; the four sit staring off into the distance as an explosion blazes on in the background. Though the fire and smoke are not the interesting aspects: bassist Lawrence can be seen with an additional finger on his fully visible hand. Perhaps a Photoshop goof, or this could be nod to how the group’s bass player must certainly have an extra digit in order to perform the techniques he implements.
“I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)” begins the twelve track sequence with a catchy guitar hook that reverberates throughout the song. Equipped with an electric synth pedals, Lawrence and Fertita carry over the distorted amp snap crackle and pop over to “Buzzkill(er)” and onward. Mosshart adds to her powerful vocal resonance a haunting echo in the tracks “Let Me Through” and “Cop and Go.” Whilst “Open Up” begins with a mighty howl from the frontwoman, “Be Still” showcases whispered lyrics before a screech from White augments the dynamics.
As seen in previous tracks, such as “Die By The Drop” taken from Sea of Cowards, the vocals of Mosshart and White come together harmoniously. “Rough Detective” blends the the pair perfectly as White assumes the role of the detective and Mosshart the suspect. Yet “Three Dollar Hat” showcases the vocalists meshing two different styles. White eerily recounts a tale of “that bad man named Jackie Lee/ shooting everybody down with a .33,” as Mosshart takes on a fast tempo, quickly dispersing lines.
The collection is concluded by the orchestral-backed ballad “Impossible Winner” with Mosshart singing in triumph over those who doubted her. Proud of her achievements, an rightfully so, the frontwoman croons “I’ll be here every night/ my name up in lights” with the support of an entire strings section and a piano backing the composition.
Having been recorded sparsely over a period of two years, it is a pleasant surprise how successfully Dodge and Burn is able to seamlessly fit together. The Dead Weather, despite the long wait, are as alive as ever.