Newest Review: ... fans already knew them to be. The album kicks off with a bang with "Everlasting Light". This is really good song that showcases... more
Soul: these brothers got it
Brothers - The Black Keys
Member Name: Renza_e
Brothers - The Black Keys
Advantages: Fantastic bluesy rock with soulful vocals
Disadvantages: Maybe not to everyone's taste?
'The Black Keys' are a band from Ohio comprised of Vocalist/Guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. With only two members, they have a stripped down soulful bluesy sound which I find unique in the modern music scene. They are also one of those bands that even today I find to be hideously underrated. Their popularity is growing rather slowly and they are getting recognition on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2010 they won Best Breakthrough Video at the MTV Music Video Awards for their song 'Tighten Up' and they have won other awards too. However, it arguably demonstrates how little they are known in the music scene on the whole (or that MTV just sucks) as printed on their award was 'The Black Eyed Peas.' Luckily, The Black Keys and their fans reacted to this error with good humour (posting 'We're Super Proud of Fergie' in response to this mishap).
All I can say is that if the Black Keys are gaining a large following (which I believe they are) then people are being rather quiet about it. When I first heard the Black Keys last summer I assumed that they were one of those small rock bands that only a selective group of people had a penchant for. So I bought a ticket to go see them with my flatmate Steph that coming September. Never did I anticipate that they were actually quite so popular in my native Scotland. By November they had sold out and with a sizeable number of disappointed fans who seem to have missed the boat in terms of purchasing a ticket. The Glasgow 02 Academy was bursting at the seams with excited fans.
Admittedly, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Black Keys are another one of those indie bands who only seem to gain moderate success amongst a small band of music critics and young adults who profess to love them so they appear 'cool'. Even looking at a picture of Auerbach and Carney could lead you to assume that their audiences are made up of Gap-wearing young adults, wearing 'NHS-style' glasses, bobbing their heads nonchalantly to their 'alternative' sounds. But I'm telling you, the Black Keys are actually genuinely BRILLIANT and the album 'Brothers' which I am reviewing today shows them at their best...
*~HIGHLIGHTS OF 'BROTHERS'~*
Personally, my favourite tracks on the album are...
This song opens the album with a groove that I challenge you not to tap your toes to. This track is defined by Auerbach's soulful falsetto, which is a change from other Black Keys songs which largely feature his usual gritty deeper vocals. However it is a welcome change! This is an uplifting funky love letter of a song and I adore it!
'Next Girl' sets up the listener with a complete change of tone. We return to Auerbach's commonplace 'grittiness'. Instead of a declaration of love we've got more hard-hitting overtones of regret and perseverance, with the catchy hook of a line: 'My next girl, will be nothing like my ex-girl...' This is a mighty track with a confident swagger and tip top guitar.
I only need to hear the intro of this song to feel instantaneously cheery. Perhaps it is the charming whistling featured in the track intro (even more charming when they perform it on stage). Perhaps it's the fact that I still imagine a Jim Henson style monkey puppet when I hear it (the character from one of the first promotional videos of the song). This is a playful yet sensuous track and, in my opinion, the best track on the whole album.
*~Ten Cent Pistol~*
This is arguably the bluesy-est of song on the album, The song oozes of the blues musically and lyrically. It tells the story of a jealous woman shooting her man and his lover on account of cheating ways. You can't get any more blues than that! I love it!
*~A GARAGE ROCK MASTERPIECE~*
Although I have only mentioned four songs from the 15 track album, 'Brothers' is a masterpiece from start to finish, from the falsetto warblings of 'Everlasting Light' to their genius cover of Jerome Butler's 'Never Going to Give you Up', finishing up with the gentle down beat closing track that is 'These Days'.
Even with a more refined sound than their previous albums, the Black Keys have retained a particular rawness and rough edge. This is something reminiscent of old blues, funk and soul stars all rolled up into a garage rock style. They've got so much soul you'd almost be surprised that they are white. When you listen to the album, you feel like you are revisiting a golden age of music, of the days of Motown, old style blues and true classic rock, but at the same time their music seems very forward moving, putting a unique spin on old styles.
For anyone who feared that good rock music was on the decline I would urge you to give this album a listen. I can only agree with 'Rolling Stone' magazine when I say that 'Brothers' is one of the best albums of 2010 and one not to be missed by music fans.
Overall: All hail blues influenced garage rock - this album gets a shiny 9.5/10!
*~Thank you for reading my review :-) x~*
*~Also published on Ciao under username Renza - February 2011~*
Summary: One of the best albums of 2010 - another hidden gem.