- 10 Jul 19
Stone Cold Classic
If 2014’s Turn Blue saw The Black Keys take a bit of a darker turn after the ‘Gold On The Ceiling’ joy of 2011’s El Camino, then this record finds them back in the sunshine again. As the title might suggest, they’ve kicked out the jams and turned it up. This album does, as the old cliché suggests, exactly what it says on the tin.
You can hear from the kick off that the emphasis this time is on a live feel - two men go into a room and take lumps out of their instruments: the sledgehammer-on-egg riff of ‘Shine A Little Light’ jumps out at you, the ZZ Top boogie of ‘Eagle Birds’ just jumps you. If you want some more boogie, you got it with the scuzzy, slinky 'Lo/Hi', and you can make up your own funky strutting chicken dance to 'Get Yourself Together' or at least that's what I did. ‘Walk Across The Water’ half-inches a hint of T. Rex around the time of ‘The Slider’, and ‘Sit Around And Miss You’ updates Creedence with a chorus that you’ll have to have surgically removed from the front of your brain, before Auerbach gives it a bit of Peter Green for the outro. Got that chorus out of your head? Good, because you’re going to need the room for ‘Go’, the song that’ll replace ‘Lonely Boy’ at future ‘Keys shows.
It’s welcome news across the board: they genuflect at the holy altars of AC/DC and The Stooges, and ‘Under The Gun’, ’Fire Walk With Me’ and ‘Breaking Down’ all turn up the guitars and the drums and rock out, and why in the name of all that is holy would a rock n’ roll band want to do anything else? The same spirit with which they trashed out the blues on those first couple of albums has survived their success, and is still very much evident. The career break, and Auerbach’s extra-curricular activities in the producer’s chair, has done them a power of good. Rock on.
That's the video of the year right there.