The Black Keys – Brothers The Black Keys – Brothers

The Black Keys - Brothers

The Black Keys - Brothers

Damn, these cats are cool. Every time The Black Keys make a new record, it’s more daring than the last. Yet somehow, they make this transition seamlessly. From the instant “Everlasting Light,” the first track on Brothers kicks in, The Black Keys yet again confirm they know how to make a great record. It’s an uncharacteristically happy love song, but with such a great groove. It’s a different sound for them, but it’s apparent this band is more comfortable and confident than ever before.

The Black Keys have evolved a lot in the last few years. Starting with the Danger Mouse produced Attack & Release in 2008, they began to explore the idea of how the Blues have affected modern music, incorporating that into their repertoire of dirty, garage-style sound. Bringing elements of hip-hop, jazz and funk into their already heavy Blues affected rock was just the beginning of a great explorative run. With Blakroc, released last year, they collaborated with some of today’s freshest hip-hop artists to create a completely different sound.  Both albums, equally impressive, obviously had an impact on the writing for the mostly self-produced Brothers. Lyrically, front man Dan Auerbach is more experimental than ever, writing catchy hooks one would expect from the world of hip-hop (“My next girl will be nothing like my ex girl”). Musically, the band has more soul than ever. Showcased in the track “Black Mud,” an instrumental, Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney play off each other like two musicians that know each other so well that it’s unnecessary to be in sync. The off kilter beat is completely reminiscent of experimental soul/funk of the 70’s and 80’s, which inspired hip-hop in the first place.

Along with their newfound confidence, The Black Keys have opened themselves more than ever to experimentation. There are new instruments in the mix, more background vocals to accentuate Auerbach’s own. Carney’s drumming has become less sloppy, and is more methodic than before. The songwriting has become more complex, and less focused on the simple structure of the Blues.

To me, The Black Keys have always shown their writing capabilities the most during their slow, self-reflective numbers. That is surely the case on this album as well. “Unknown Brother” and “These Days” could easily be the best songs they’ve ever recorded. Both bear a resemblance to “The Lengths” from Rubber Factory, but more refined and synchronous. A fine example as to the growth of this band, every element of sound emanating from these recordings shares the same feeling. And not unlike the other slower songs in their repertoire, the lyrics are ambiguous. This gives you the freedom to make it your own. That’s the entire relevance of music, and The Black Keys convey this point well.

The Back Keys – Brothers – Tracklist:
01. Everlasting Light
02. Next Girl
03. Tighten Up
04. Howlin’ For You
05. She’s Long Gone
06. Black Mud
07. The Only One
08. Too Afraid to Love You
09. Ten Cent Pistol
10. Sinister Kid
11. The Go Getter
12. I’m Not the One
13. Unknown Brother
14. Never Gonna Give You Up
15. These Days

The Black Keys - Brothers, reviewed by Daniel G on 2010-06-02T11:29:50-07:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

3 Responses about “The Black Keys – Brothers”

  • Baer says:

    I’ve been telling anyone who will listen how this album is hot fire, even though I just found out about their contribution to the new Twilight soundtrack.

  • bootsie says:

    this album rocks. the black keys are awesome

  • Sights seeing blue says:

    Tighten Up is my new favorite song!