Saturday, March 07, 2009

Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid (Nonesuch, 2009)

Guitarist and singer Auerbach made a name for himself as one half of the great garage rock/blues band The Black Keys along with drummer Patrick Carney. Striking out on his own for a solo LP, he stays close to the formula that makes his other band so potent, while also broadening and expanding his sound. The biggest shock is right up front, the first track is a very striking solo acoustic blues called “My Troubles Weigh A Ton,” sung in a world weary tone like a depression era bluesman playing in a levy camp after riding the rails hobo style. He soon switches back to the electric guitar for some nice stomping full band rock 'n' roll, keeping close to the blues with the down and out “Heartbroken in Disrepair” and fighting to keep the reaper at bay on the title track, “Keep It Hid.” The only real misfire comes when unnecessary strings are added to another acoustic track called “When the Night Comes.” The strings weigh the music down and make a sad song melancholy by detracting from Auerbach's vocals and cheapening the impact of the starkness of the song by trying to blunt it. Things soon right themselves with “I Want Some More” and “Street Walking” which ramp back up the energy and keep the proceedings moving briskly along. The album benefits from these pithy songs and Aurerbach's deeply soulful voice. He takes his time a little more on these tunes, with the full band including bass behind him he doesn't have to cover as much ground by himself as he does in The Black Keys and he seems to revel on the freedom offered him. This is a very good album of straight up grits 'n' gravy rock 'n' roll. Greasy as a diner breakfast and just as satisfying.
Keep It Hid -

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