Hah! Of course, the title is completely misleading. Sure, I do listen to different kinds of music but what the hell do I know about soul? What I mean is the pure soul of blues-rock. Ladies and Gentlemen, behold – The Black Keys.
Of course, it’s nothing new in America. The Black Keys are known there already for a while and though their newest album (released in mid-May 2010) is the first one to gain commercial success, they released 5 other LPs prior to 2010. Still, some things, unfortunately, come to Europe much slower. And if you’re not a regular reader of any local (or foreign) magazine on rock music, you have little chances to hear any single in the radio and/or tv – that is until the band gets big and noticed enough to get broadcasted.
Brothers is actually produced as a hit album from the very beginning. The whole is just flawless. Each song is very emotional, deeply rooted in American rock and blues, witty, funny, sometimes sad, poignant and perfectly in place. Plus the professionalism of the Akron duo – Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are just great! I can’t tell what it is. They’re at the same time delicate and strong, prefectionist and raw. They can either sound like a huge, almost gospel (I’m not kidding!) orchestra, or like a teenage garage band with all its rawness and anger.
And, at the same time… perhaps the title of the post is not so misleading after all. Surprisingly enough, they do get a bit “souly”. And… hell… I would even risk it and say that it’s a perfect blend of rock, blues and… funk. The way Auerbach sings, the drums played by Carney, the guitar, the vibe… I guess that if James Brown ever decided to play rock, this is how it would sound. And I assume it’s a huge compliment for the guys. Well, actually, I assume it’s a huge compliment to just anyone.
All in all – I’m mesmerized! I just don’t get the comparisons of The Black Keys with the White Stripes. Let’s think… ok, both of them are duos that include a drummer and a guitarist/vocalist. Both of them are deeply rooted in American blues. And, yes, the names of the bands include colors. But that’s a totally different story, I think. Sure there are some similarities but there are similarities between just any band that plays blues-rock or any kind of rock that is true to its roots. Still, I’d rather perceive the White Stripes leaning more towards punk (yeah, you heard me), although still being strongly connected to blues, whereas The Black Keys…? Well. I wouldn’t exaggerate with the blues influence too much. At least not as much to minimize the influence of the 1960’s rock (e.g. psychedelic rock – check their songs She’s Long Gone or Black Mud) and 1970’s funk (e.g. Next Girl). And I am even bold enough to say that in the music of The Black Keys I can even hear tiny influences of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band.
Or maybe I’m wrong? I guess it’s just an album that is so good that anyone will find there, what they want.