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The Black Keys, the American blues rock duo composed of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney released their seventh studio album “El Camino” on December 6. Danger Mouse and The Black Keys produced the album on Nonesuch Records.
These guys, who started their career in 2001, are the romantic incarnation of the rock band dream. They are friends, they traveled long distances together to play gigs where there was nobody to listen to them, and they kept playing sensible music, recording on analog tapes. During the years, they have developed their sound, experimenting with different aspects of indie rock from blues rock up to a more rock-and-roll oriented approach in the latest album “El Camino.”
The dream of great success came true in 2010 with the widely appreciated album “Brothers,” which had the hit singles “Tighten Up” and “Howlin’ for You.” Since then, they have gained a bigger audience and won several awards, including three Grammy Awards and an MTV Video Music Award.
The release of “El Camino” was preceded by the single “Lonely Boy”, an extremely catchy song adequately promoted by an equally catchy music video. Before the record’s release, fans also had the possibility to stream five of the new songs on the “El Camino” website.
The album is simply awesome. It forgets a bit about the soul and black approach of the previous records, although it is possible to retrieve it mainly in “Stop Stop.” It still plays a background role in the whole record, but it’s not the final goal of it. “El Camino” is faster than the previous band’s records, as had Auerback, singer and songwriter, declared before the release of the album. It reminds listeners of old sonorities pertaining to big bands of the past, such as The Clash. It oozes the feeling of good, old rock-and-roll, which has seemed to be finally coming back because of more than one band in the last year.
The catchy characteristic does not only pertain to “Lonely Boy.” The tracks come to the listener in a straightforward way. The maximum level of perfection in the album is probably reached by “Little Black Submarines,” which, according to Auerbach, was recorded in several versions. The one in the album starts like a heartbreaking ballad with only an acoustic guitar and a voice, and then ends in a powerful expression of pure and profound rock. It is a pleasant experience for the soul.
The Black Keys declared that the most interesting part of this release will be for them to play the songs live, mainly because the new tempo of the album forces Carney, the drummer of the duo, to play faster and harder than he ever has live. Surely band members are not the only ones looking forward to the live shows. They have already had to add dates to their European tour because of high requests, and they’ve announced a 2012 North American tour.