If you were in a band that worked as hard as The Black Keys, you may just as big of a deal. I remember catching the band before they broke, and how few of people were at those shows. While a lot has changed since those small room appearances, the hard work the duo puts into their music hasn’t. On their new album Let’s Rock they not only return to their roots, they remind us why we liked them in the first place.
The opening track has more searing riffs than you may expect, though “Shine A Little Light” does still have all of the pop hooks that we were spoon fed on Brothers. However by the second track “Eagle Birds,” you don’t have to wait for that sound anymore. The band traipses between blues riffs and hip hop pacing to really deliver on the album’s title. While the catchy goodness doesn’t end there, as tracks like “Lo/Hi,” “Go” and “Under The Gun” all give you the goods, it’s the more seventies inspired tunes that make what they’re doing here shine like a diamond.
Where “Tell Me Lies” mixes funky ditties with tremolo heavy psych rock, and “Every Little Thing” seems to embody a cluster of Hendrix and Paige riffs, the songs just work in ways that it’s easy to forget. The Black Keys might be lifting heavy here but it doesn’t come off that way. The graceful nuances between licks and vocal placement here makes these guitar rock songs work better than most of what’s been out there in the absence. Of course our favorite from the record is the gurgled notes of “Fire Walk With Me.” Between Carney’s snappy drums and Auerbach’s softly placed vocals, the song has enough weight to carry it from the pop structures that come on and off of the album. This is The Black Keys we missed and that we’re glad is back.
Let’s Rock can be streamed on all streaming sites, it can be purchased in all digital music stores or physically directly from Nonesuch Records. The Black Keys will be on tour starting September 23 at Pepsi Center in Denver, CO until November 24 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. A complete run of their tour dates can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Alysse Gafkjen.