On The Download: The Black Keys

I’ve been a fan of Akron, Ohio duo The Black Keys for many years now. I’ve watched them progress on every album while maintaining their core blues-influenced no frills rock sound. They’ve gotten more experimental and adventurous over the years, adding keyboards, or taking such risks as teaming with producer Danger Mouse on their last album, “Attack and Release.” Their end result always ends up sounding true to their original vision.

Their latest album “Brothers” is no different and may just be the group’s finest work to date. Singer/Guitarist Dan Auerbach sounds the best he ever has, singing all over his range, while drummer Patrick Carney has never sounded so funky, yet in the pocket.

The first single “Tighten Up” (the only track on the album produced by Danger Mouse) is a tight, and rocking Black Keys classic, while “The Only One” rides a fat and funky drum groove with ‘60s garage rock organs and fuzzed out guitars highlighting Auerbach’s sweet falsetto vocals.

“Everlasting Light” kicks the disc off with a bluesy throbbing rhythm seeming ready for a Burlesque show stage, while “Ten Cent Pistol” is a menacing tale of love gone wrong. The duo closes out the album with the sweet and heartbreaking ballad “These Days,” complete with vibes and a slide guitar that could break hearts on it’s own.

“Brothers” is truly an apt title for this great collection of tracks for a duo literally operating like brothers. They are completely in-sync with one another and performing at the height of their musicianship without piling on too much. Every song is succinct, and the tracks are able to run the gamut from heart aching blues, to fun rave-up stomps… all while still keeping that Black Keys sound, which fans of the band have grown to cherish.

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