'Dodge and Burn' proves to be raw, meticulous Jack White effort

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Whether it’s his latest haircut or a band’s color scheme, custom instruments or music video effects, Jack White’s attention to detail is what spurs his fans’ dedication. With his band’s newest release, Dodge and Burn, fans will find a similarly raw yet meticulous effort.

In 2009, White founded The Dead Weather on a whim, and it quickly became his main artistic focus. After two quick releases, Horehound and Sea of Cowards, The Dead Weather fizzled out, only to be reignited in early 2013. For two years, the group worked on recording Dodge and Burn, released Friday. Though the album doesn’t take many risks, it capitalizes on the infectious guitar and thrashing drums old fans have come to love, making it their best release yet.

Dodge and Burn is a compilation of scattered studio sessions, and the record doesn’t attempt to hide it. Each song follows a similar formula in its construction and themes. This isn’t the most cohesive record The Dead Weather has recorded together, but what it lacks in continuity, it makes up for with powerful and relentless rock.

In typical White style, the record’s rock sound is heavy and distorted. The album’s first track, “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles),” kicks off and ends with Dean Fertita’s muddy guitar licks, making it a safe but quality choice to lead the album. Every song highlights the album’s fiery tone, especially “Let Me Through,” which features the best guitar work on the entire record.

Although Fertita’s riffs dominate each song, White’s drumming is the backbone of Dodge and Burn. His production choices emphasize his colorful percussion, making his intricate playing style stand out. “Buzzkill(er)” is driven by White’s hard-hitting drum patterns.

Most songs on the album flash back to a time when White relied heavily on catchy guitar riffs and muffled sounds. However, fans of his more recent works might consider Dodge and Burn to be a step in the wrong direction due to its narrow sound.

Alison Mosshart’s singing talent caps off every song on this album. Her vocals on “Open Up” are some of the most evocative and unnerving performances on this LP. Lyrically, Mosshart writes in a symbolic and blunt fashion, complimenting Fertita’s punchy guitar riffs and White’s echoing drums.

Of all of the tracks on this album, “Impossible Winner” is the obvious outlier. The track’s echoed piano makes it sound like a jazzed-up version of a B-side Adele song and leaves the album on an unsavory note.

It might sound disjointed at times, but the individual performances from each band member on Dodge and Burn make it The Dead Weather’s best record so far. Without a tour to accompany Dodge and Burn, the future of Jack White and The Dead Weather is in limbo, but, for now, fans of what Rolling Stone called “rock’s Willy Wonka” should be more than satisfied.

 

Album: Dodge and Burn

Genre: Garage/Blues Rock

Tracks: 12

Rating: 7/10