Spotlight: New Black Keys Album


Was the lead-up (several tracks leaked online) and the hype
around the Saturday Night Live appearance worth it? With El Camino out this
week on Nonesuch, you betcha! View tour dates, below.


By A.D. Amorosi

If Muddy Waters was correct in
assuming that the blues’ offspring was a baby named “Rock n’ Roll,” there had
to be an evil twin bastard in there somewhere, something skuzzy that merged
illicitly with the dank swamp music. Something out of Akron, yet, The Black Keys.


Unlike their garage brethren
(White Stripes, Blues Explosion) the Keys had soul, real soul and genuine
concern without distraction. There were those advertisements and that BlackRoc
side project but in reality Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach didn’t worry about
funny color schemes or pointy shoes. They didn’t fool themselves with aping a
past’s authenticity. Between the ‘60s R&Bish bolt of #Brothers#
and the musky muzzy atmospheres of #Attack & Release# the Black
Keys proved that they still have nothing to prove. #El Camino# offers, like they say in #Spinal Tap#, something none more black, lean mean T-Rex-ish blues
party pop (because the melodies are audaciously and apologetically catchy) that
spirals nearly out of control yet is reigned in (really?!?) by producer Danger Mouse at his most spare and frame


Note: a spare Mouse is still a
slick one capable of a steely veneer, talk boxes, cheesy organs, girlie vocals
and lots of clapping and boot stomping.


Other than the Zep-y
acoustic-then-blammo “Little Black Submarines,” Auerbach’s mangy but flashy
guitars (borrowing from the sounds of Bolan and Ronson at their Jean Genie-est)
cling to Carney’s hard driving dirtball rhythms like flesh on a meth head’s bones.
There are Mouse noises to contend with, but nothing gets in the way of the fast
danceable pulse and staggeringly messed up guitar-and-vocal attack arranged by
Auerbach as if he were taking Savannah (by way
of Tiger Mountain) by siege.


Talking as much trash as he plays
(all the lyrics here are the dippiest), “Gold on the Ceiling” is like
a dirty joke put to music (maybe it’s dirty music put to a joke). And “Run
Right Back” is the sound love makes when it has nothing left to say and can say
it all in under 38 minutes.




Tour Dates:

December 11 Los Angeles, CA KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas

March 2 * Cincinnati, OH US Bank Arena

March 3 * Detroit, MI Joe Louis Arena

March 4 * Columbus, OH Jerome Schottenstein Center

March 6 * Portland, ME Cumberland Co. Civic Center

March 7 * Boston, MA TD Garden

March 9 * Washington, DC Verizon Center

March 10 * Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center

March 12 * New York, NY Madison Square Garden Arena

March 13 * Montreal, QC Bell Centre

March 14 * Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre

March 16 * Indianapolis, IN Conseco Fieldhouse

March 18 * Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena

March 19 * Chicago, IL United Center

March 20 * Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena

March 23 * Norfolk, VA Constant Convocation Center


*Arctic Monkeys support

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