Little Red Corvette
This is a band who has played freakin’ Ozzfest, mind you, and has been voted the top band in New Zealand, for what it’s worth, so whatever business anyone has telling them to abbreviate anything is beyond me. Headstunts is an anagram of their name, and also a fitting descriptor of their sound, driving and forceful, yet as playful as any “stunt” can be, done for sheer “look at me” value, and once you do it’s hard to look away. This musical vehicle may not be the smoothest ride, but gets great MPG. Okay that’s stretching the metaphor way too far.
“Dead-” is the new “Black-” or “Wolf-” as the hip modifier for bands to affix to their monikers. What with indie-psych rockers Dead Meadow, punk band Dead Moon and DJ extraordinaire Deadmau5, the lifeless prefix was almost dead to me as a musical modifier. But Dead Weather has the personnel to lend their nominator cred, with Jack White on “skins” in this lineup, Jack Lawrence from the Greenhorns and the Raconteurs (also featuring White) on bass, Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) on guitar and keyboards and Alison Mosshart of the Kills and Discount on vocals.
Their sound matches the album’s cover art—eerie yellowed photographs, portraits of those who died premature deaths, violence hinted at by reverberations, shadows in the corners. “I want to grab you by the hair/and hang you up from the heavens,” exclaims Mosshart in “Hang You From the Heavens,” evoking, as the best blues songs do, heaven, hell, and the expanse in between in which we struggle through our existences. The rest of the album pulls some Led Zeppelin-ish tricks with reverb and distortion to add heaviness, so like that band, you don’t mind if their version of retro blues-influenced rock is manufactured, the sepia tone of the photos a digitally-produced effect.