Dodge and Burn is a beautiful explosion of cranky blues

The supergroup the Dead Weather’s third release offers a fast paced, finicky feel to already bluesy rock.

Dodge and Burn album artwork, courtesy of

by Helen Wheatley, Opinion Editor

When four creative, jittery, hot, bothered and ready-to-write musicians band together to form a supergroup, one of two things can happen: an explosion of musical genius will birth a piece of sound that changes the scope of music for the rest of us mere mortals, or that same dynamic will crash and burn due to eventual power struggle between egotistical musicians. Luckily, The Dead Weather’s third release Dodge and Burn, does neither.

Jack White’s (The White Stripes) drumming, reminiscent of Bonham’s but with an extra nervous tick, Allison Mosshart’s (The Kills) manic, deranged, poisonous vocals in conjunction with the funky and omnipresent chug of the baseline (Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs) and intoxicatingly grimy tone of the guitar riffs (Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age) create a mess of an album in the best of ways.

Dodge and Burn throws in occasionally shocking curveballs of 70’s rock and roll and garage punk all within the framework of what seems like a bluesy impromptu jam sesh. It’s pay the band in beer, drum on the steering wheel, only over 70 decibel rock with mean, meaningless lyrics. Dodge and Burn is intoxicating, dirty punk rock, an in-synch herd of animals stampeding right at your ears with a surprisingly bluesy twist.

The first track on the album, I Feel Love (Every Million Miles), introduces dynamic tempo changes and infectious drum beats that will set the tone for the rest of the album. Buzzkill(er) entertains some of the tastiest licks of the set, traveling between left and right channels for added effect.

While the first three tracks set high standards for the album, the record really finds its footing on the fourth track Three Dollar Hat. With White and Mosshart’s nursery rhyme lyrics, reminiscent of Icky Thump era, the song approaches being psychedelic but retreats into safer, weirder territory. The track is spoken word, bluesy rock trimmed to perfection.

The next few tracks incorporate more unconventional instruments, highlighting the musicians’ desire to investigate their limits. The organ on Lose the Right is evocative of Deep Purple, creating a sort of church of rock and roll. This ‘cooler than you’ theme culminates in Be Still, Mile Marks and Cop and Go, with Mosshart’s sleazy vocals that have a spit on the mic type of sound.

The album concludes with a seemingly random emotional ballad, Impossible Winner. Upon first listen, this addition seems cheesy– an obligatory sentimental song to draw in listeners. Given more thought, however, the song showcases Mosshart’s true voice and adds necessary depth to an otherwise fun album. The track showcases all four musicians’ talents, although it’s obviously White’s brainchild. It breaks the stereotype of the emotional ballad being the climax of the album. It’s the quiet and humble bow at the end of the show.

Dodge and Burn digs its fangs into a rhythmic smattering of adulthood anger, creativity and originality, all finished and trimmed very intentionally. Dodge and Burn is experimental; it takes no hesitations in exploring every facet of the well-oiled machine that is the supergroup at its disposal. Dodge and Burn is not an album to be passively listened to; Dodge and Burn demands to be heard.