Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Black Keys El Camino 2011

I've really struggled with this one. I'm making myself write it. Like the other mid-western blues-based guitar-drums duo, Detroit's White Stripes, Akron's Black Keys leave me cold. The two-man band idea seems just a little too garage for my tastes. I've heard quite a bit of their music, but I haven't fallen in love. I get what they're doing, it just doesn't resonate with me.

Everyone points to this as their most pop, most accessible recording yet. So I had to try the record, and I've given it several listens.

The first three tracks are all hot. The stomping swamp rock of Lonely Boy, the shining Britpop of Dead And Gone, and the Dirty Mind-era Prince of Gold On The Ceiling are all good. Money Maker's solid blues riff-rock and Hell Of A Season's sweet guitar sound are highlights. Stop Stop is a blues rhythm married to reggae guitar that's pretty slick. Nova Baby is a quality pop song. The songwriting is remarkably consistent.

The drummer's hot, and the guitarist, too. The singing is good but not anything amazing. Get these guys a Robert Plant, and you've got my attention. The primal blues rock that absorbs a thousand influences is impressive, but in the end it's still primal blues rock, and I daresay that's just not working for me. I like AC/DC and ZZ Top, why wouldn't I love these guys? Maybe it's the singer thing, maybe I'm not 26 anymore.

This is a great Black Keys CD. I like it more than anything I've heard from the band before. But if you love them already, it might be too commercial for you. It's still not quite commercial enough for me.

No comments:

Post a Comment