eMusic Review 0
The Black Keys, Akron’s unsuspecting blues-rock saviors, faced ridiculous pressure in following up their expansive 2010 breakout effort, Brothers. Big things happened in the subsequent year: The duo (vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney) graced the cover of Spin, tucked away three GRAMMYs, played SNL and raked in huge piles of advertising cash — big-deal developments for a band that recorded their debut album in a basement nearly a decade earlier. Brothers found the band at a creative and commercial high-point, simultaneously embracing soulful pop melodies and the spirited muscle of their live shows, even as they gently experimented with psychedelic overdubs — emphatically darting away from the sleepy, awkward soundscapes of the Danger Mouse-produced identity crisis Attack & Release.
On El Camino, the Black Keys are done trying to impress anybody, sounding wonderfully unhinged throughout the album’s compact 38 minutes. The name of the game is hard-hitting focus; spontaneity; keeping it simple, stupid; never over-thinking or over-cooking any swampy chorus or tossed-off lyric (“Hey, my my, she’s a money-maker/ Hey, my my, she’s gonna take ya,” goes one gem). After only producing one Brothers track (the emphatic “Tighten Up”), Danger Mouse returns to man the boards —… read more »