Monday, December 26, 2011

The Black Keys - El Camino (Nonesuch, 2011)

The venerable garage rock band from Akron, Ohio, The Black Keys finally broke through last year, with a top five album and a brace of Grammy Awards. That album was much different than the work that they had made before and I wondered whether this marked a true sea change for the band and their music. Turns out not to be the case. Scaling back from last years sprawling epic, Brothers, to a taught hard hitting rock 'n' roll album clocking with eleven concise songs in thirty-nine minutes. Slashing guitar riffs and booming percussion return, with some other instruments filling out the spaces, but the focus clearly returns to the two band leaders, guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. Tracks like "Lonely Boy" and "Gold on the Ceiling" show a band with a chip on its shoulder and something to prove, after the phony glitz of the Grammy awards and the whirlwind blast through the media machine which will chew bands up and spit them out. The Black Keys remain undaunted, with their heads held high, making the tough gritty music that got them such a strong fan base to begin with. El Camino -

Send comments to Tim.