The Black Keys – El Camino

Release Date: December 6th, 2011
Reviewed By Evelyn Miska Krieger

Unless you’ve been completely ignoring rock radio, you’ve probably heard The Black Keys mentioned, even if you can’t put a finger on which song is theirs. There’s good reason for why they seem to be one of the hottest things on alternative radio. Their recent release El Camino is a fantastic collection of solid rock songs that showcase talent and don’t rely on fancy production tricks to make a mediocre product into a good one.

The first few notes of “Lonely Boy” set the tone and pace for the rest of El Camino. The song, like most of those on the album, has a soulful slant while keeping things moving with the primary rock influence. The vocals mix perfectly with the guitar riffs and melodies and it is easy to see why this track is already. Not taking a chance of letting any song get too strung-out and dull, the tracks move quickly from one to the next. “Gold On the Ceiling” has a little more of a rollicking feel than “Lonely Boy” but that momentum doesn’t let up for a second. Although the chorus has a little of that glam vibe often found in Scissors Sisters songs, the guitar solos keep the style from running too far afield.

“Little Black Submarines” is the only track that verges into ballad territory but The Black Keys deal with this with aplomb. The gentle, melancholy melody is reminiscent at moments of Led Zeppelin, a comparison which becomes more intense when the song shifts into a rock-infused spinoff at the two-minute mark. “Run Right Back” and “Hell of A Season” have great swagger to them that makes them fun tracks to listen to. Vocalist and guitarist Dan Auerbach swings from a falsetto to a soulful style with ease and all the while supported by the foundation of Patrick Carney’s drumming.

The Black Keys may sound like they’re from another era and there’s no question that a great deal of influence comes from times past, but there is nothing tired or dated about the songs they’ve put together on El Camino. Out of all 11 songs, there isn’t a bad one in the lot and the variations and twists that they put on their own sound keep things unique and interesting. With a collection like this, fans can expect The Black Keys to become more and more of a household name.


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