The Black Keys | El Camino
If Ohio duo Dan Auerbach (guitars) and Patrick Carney (drums) have taught us anything about rummaging though the golden age of the American music hamper, it’s that unwavering consistency and an earnest appreciation for straight up raw rock n soul goes a long way. As far as ten years and seven critically acclaimed studio albums in fact, beginning with Rubber Factory back in 2004 and currently blasting out of the nearest Midwest saloon bar jukebox in the form of El Camino.
Judging by the outpouring of critical and public acclaim that has been flung their way, it would seem that The Black Keys really haven’t put a foot wrong, and it only takes a cursory listen through the 11 tracks of El Camino to see that they’ve pretty much nailed it again with a tight, fast-paced collection of upbeat little gems. Clocking in at just under 40 minutes, the album rattles by with a minimum of fuss, and feels as well polished as your mum’s best silver – thanks in no small part to super producer Danger Mouse at the helm.
Opening track Lonely Boy wastes no time in getting right to the heart of the matter, with a sucker punch hook and instantly singable chorus line that is guaranteed to awaken your inner air guitarist. Foot-stomping Northern soul inspired Dead and Gone paves the way for album standout Gold on the Ceiling, complete with spangly Wurlitzer and retro hand claps. From here on out the formula remains steadfast with further standouts Run Right Back and Sister ensuring even the most ADD afflicted listeners won’t be tempted to skip forward.
Only on a very few rare occasions does it seem as if the concentration has lapsed momentarily (see acoustic intro to Little Black Submarines) but it’s never long before the next catchy chorus or blistering riff kicks in and it’s all on again.
Simply put, The Black Keys work with a minimum of fuss and a wealth of ideas to produce the richest, fattest, coolest music around, and El Camino is a shining example of this. Get it now – ‘nuff said.