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Sea of Cowards
The Dead Weather Sea of Cowards
Released 7 May 2010
Producer Jack White III
Label Third Man Records
Length 35:12
Genre Alternative, blues rock
Website thedeadweather.com
81

It's not often I agree with music magazines, usually they infuriate me with their annual polls and lists– a recent example would be Q magazines 100 front-men of all time, horrific stuff, I could honestly spend the rest of this review berating that– but when Uncut magazine announced early this year that they were making Jack White their artist of the decade, for once I found myself in complete agreement. To say the man's been active over the last ten years would be putting it mildly, it's hard to actually comprehend his genius unless his achievements are spelled out in front of you. Do then let me enlighten you; in the past decade he's released five albums with The White Stripes, two with The Raconteurs, one with The Dead Weather as well as taking producing credits on nearly every project he's ever worked on (too many to list), collaborating artists of note would be The Von Bondies and Loretta Lynn. All the while maintaining an above average standard with each release (we'll forgive him for his theme song to Quantum of Solace). Musically the man dominated the noughties.

With the release of The Dead Weather’s second album Sea of Cowards the prolific White shows no sign of letting up and impressively his standards again remain uncompromised. Following on from 2009's Horehound the alt rock/blues sound that encompassed that album and the line up that created it both remain. One thing that does seem a little different however is the group’s dynamic. On Horehound, White took a step back from his normal front-man role, instead playing drums and contributing with the backing vocals. On Sea of Cowards White resumes drumming duties but as track one 'Blue Blood Blues' kicks in it's immediately clear that lead vocals have been split between himself and Alison Mosshart and this remains throughout the album. In saying that, Mosshart is still very much The Dead Weather’s front-man, and again unleashes that inner rock chick, a slice of her personality usually suppressed on The Kills’ records.

As is to be expected from any group boasting this amount of talent –remember The Dead Weather are officially a 'supergroup'– this album sounds great. It doesn't boast anything as instantly catchy  as 'Treat Me Like Your Mother' but it's certainly a weak track free zone and only improves with repeated listening. Album highlights include 'The Difference Between Us' a keyboard driven fully blown rock-out or 'I'm Mad' where we're treated to Mosshart repeatedly cackling 'I'm mad, ha, ha'. Both songs lack structure, as do most songs on the record, but the lack of verse, chorus, verse, does little to hinder The Dead Weather’s appeal. There is a refreshing freedom here that you just don't get on this genre's over produced contemporaries.

Undoubtedly these guys will make another record and although  you'd guess the reason for that would be White's megalomaniac nature for producing music, I'd imagine a more fitting reason is the immense musicianship present throughout both Sea Of Cowards and Horehound.

- David Prendergast