Saturday, May 19, 2012

Album Review: El Camino by The Black Keys

I will admit that I'm a fairly new listener to the Black Keys. Initially, I was somewhat put off by their gritty, no-frills sound. After merely a few encounters with their songs, I was hooked. These hipsters from Ohio who audaciously chose bluesy rock won my admiration. First off, they're a duo, Dan Auerbach, singer and guitarist, and Patrick Carney, drummer, and yet their simple, catchy songs reel me in every time. This new effort is a real stunner, because they honestly choose to give the fans what they want: more hits like Tighten Up, with fewer slow, meditative songs. In spite of the lack of variety in many of these songs, each one is so finely constructed that the album as a whole is great to listen to. Beginning with Lonely Boy, a near clone of Tighten Up (but better), we get the picture that we're in for loud songs that don't spend much time on the quiet side. Gold on the Ceiling, the album's other major single, takes the crunchy guitar and sets it front and center, and Little Black Submarines moves dramatically from soft to punchy and raucous, giving us a thrill ride. The two closing tracks, Nova Baby and Mind Eraser quickly move to a lighter sound, with more of a tender side. There are few weak tracks here; the only flaw this album has is that it's songs are somewhat similar to each other, and therefore it has a bit of a "greatest hits album" aura to it. Nevertheless, if you at all like the style of the Black Keys, it is worth listening to,you'll have a blast from start to finish.

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