Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Album Review: The Black Keys - Let's Rock

The Black Keys
Let's Rock
***and1/2 out of *****

It has been five years between Black Keys albums as the band acknowledged burnout has been the main reason why. Their previous record Turn Blue didn't have many markings of that feeling (containing one of their best individual songs) but it was a clear come down from their career high-points El Camino and the fantastic Brothers. The title let's you know the bands intent and it is true that the tracks are mostly straight ahead blues rock, but there is a spark missing from most which makes for a tame overall feel.

The best efforts are the first three, "Shine A Little Light" uses a sturdy riff and beat to sing about death, loss and the afterlife with a big chorus and layers of production complete with background vocal support by Leisa Hans Ashley Wilcoxson, far from the duo days of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney solely. "Eagle Birds" is the best straight ahead electric blues on the album while the pop rock hook laden "Lo/Hi" is a clear single with combo of heavy riffs and disco like dance beat.

A track like "Go" is more reminiscent of the album as a whole though. It checks all the classic rock boxes and does it's job admirably, but never truly ignites to where it could/should head to. The Nashville influence on the album can be clearly heard on "Sit Around and Miss You" complete with a country groove and more background vocals but it would would seem to fit better on a Auerbach solo album. Dan's production style is top notch these days and Let's Rock sounds alive throughout. 

"Tell Me Lies" and "Under The Gun" both play that classic rock bingo game by reminding of Fleetwood Mac and Steve Miller Band while "Get Yourself Together" goes big with an arena ready chorus. The Black Keys (and especially with Auerbach's last solo record) always wear their influences close to the surface and it is easy to pick out influences throughout this record with T-Rex, Stealers Wheels and Steely Dan all also popping up for cameos.

Closer "Fire Walk With Me" ends things on an upbeat note with hand claps and excellent drumming as the band gets it's groove back. While not on par with the groups best work, it is return to form and solid rock album, which is becoming rarer in today's musical landscape.
Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:

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