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CD: The Black Keys - El Camino | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Black Keys - El Camino

CD: The Black Keys - El Camino

The boys from Akron exercise their right to party

The Black Keys: carefully constructed feel-good music

For a couple of uber-hip rock nerds, The Black Keys do often still make pretty conventional music. After flirting with hip hop on the Blakroc project (and some of that mentality rubbing off on 2010’s release, Brothers), it’s back to straightforward, if sophisticated, blues-rock for the Ohio-based duo. But if there’s not much that's groundbreaking or experimental here, it’s all pretty likeable stuff: the sort of material that gives unchallenging listening a good name.

By resting the Seventies guitarscape over rhythms that are more Fifties and Sixties in tone, Auerbach and Carney have given El Camino a party feel that only lets up once: “Little Black Submarines”, which starts off like one of the Chili Peppers' acoustic ballads before morphing into something so close to Steve Winwood’s “I Can’t Find my Way Home” I’m surprised the lawyers weren’t called in. Out of the other 10, although you might be hard-pressed to identify individual tracks, you may be left thinking that you are in the presence of as sure-fire a clutch of feel-good mood creators as you’ll find on one record. Of course, the lyrics aren’t up to much (boy/girl stuff seems to make up most of it, but beyond that I couldn’t gather much) but that’s hardly the point.

This record is music to be listened to with the feet as much as the ears. As such, it’s unlikely to alienate those who loved the Grammy-winning, and artistically superior, Brothers, but this is definitely designed to be a lighter product, with even broader appeal. From Patrick Carney’s glasses to the cream-and-tan minivan on the album’s cover, The Black Keys' image and sound seems to be so carefully thought through, you can’t imagine that the boys and their producer, Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton, don’t have a millimetre-perfect idea of their demographic. And that audience will surely lap this up.

Watch the video for The Black Keys' new single "Lonely Boy"


You may be left thinking that you are in the presence of as sure-fire a clutch of feel-good mood creators as you’ll find on one record


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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