Wednesday, December 14, 2011


FIRST LISTEN : The Black Keys
The Black Keys, El Camino (Nonesuch Records)

Perhaps nothing that singer/songwriter Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney put forth for their seventh studio album could top the critical acclaim of 2010's Brothers. That LP--at once hearbreakingly sweet and melodic on tracks like Unknown Brother, then foot-stompingly savage on Tighten Up--garnered the duo three Grammys, countless magazine covers, and left them at or near the top of nearly every year-end top ten or best-of list. While their collaboration with Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton continues this go-around (Burton shares songwriting credit with The Keys for the first time), the result is somewhat more rooted in 70's classic rock, with the familiar blues accents. The other emerging consensus seems to be that Camino is the Key's 'catchiest' (i.e. pop-iest) album to date. One listen to tracks like Sister might have you thinking otherwise, as the familiar combination of grimy riff and blues-rock strut reign supreme.

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