In the gospel according to Jack White, the devil is a woman — and she’s always looking for nice Catholic boys to add to her collection. Maybe the guy keeps such an insane work schedule because he’s afraid idle hands are the devil’s workshop. So while Meg White prepares to become Patti Smith’s daughter-in-law, Jack keeps busy with this brilliant new band, tangling with Alison Mosshart of the Kills for an excellent album of sex sweat, bourbon breath, gun smoke and guitar sleaze. Advantage: devil!
As the new Satan getting behind him, Mosshart has a blast playing the film-noir villainess who’s stalked this poor boy since he first picked up a guitar. In tunes like “New Pony,” she’s got honey in her hips and evil on her mind, snarling like the biker chick in a Russ Meyer movie. With Raconteurs bassist Jack Lawrence and guitarist-organist Dean Fertita helping out, the pair cut Horehound in three weeks, but these are all top-notch songs, rooted in Seventies dirtbag rock. White plays drums and guitar, blending his voice with Mosshart’s for the seething “So Far From Your Weapon.”
After Mosshart kills off White, it’s time for the epic finale. They wail, “Just because you caught me/Does that make it a sin?” over goth-blues guitars that suggest Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” and Nick Cave’s “From Her to Eternity” were secretly the same song. It’s called “Will There Be Enough Water.” Spoiler: no. But what a lovely way to burn.