The Black Keys have recently released their seventh studio album called “El Camino” on Nonesuch Records. This offering is more uptempo than their previous album, but despite it’s heavier start on the first track, “Lonely Boy,” the album, as a whole, is on the mellow side. It has a rock and soul style with some glam rock guitar riffs to keep things interesting. It also has a bit of a nostalgic pop flavor mixed in. “Lonely Boy” was released as a single prior to the release of this album.
Dan Auerback on vocals and guitar and Patrick Carney on drums make up this formidable duo. The Black Keys, although a bit White Stripe-ish, sound like more than a two man band. The lyrics throughout this album are simple, but not stupid. It’s easy to sing along while listening to this CD, even on the first listen. The vocal melodies seem to take precedence over the lyrics, which do not seem particularly meaningful. Although the choruses are melodic, the production of the album has a dissident edge. This distorted over-modulating technique is especially noticeable on “Run Right Back.”
“Hell of a Season” and “Lonely Boy” are my personal favorites on this album. The final track, “Mind Eraser,” has a tribal beat and really seems to showcase Carney. Overall, this is a well produced CD. The .Black Keys have a consistent melodic sound throughout the album. That sound is the common thread that weaves their hodge podge of rock, pop, soul and nostalgia together. The packaging of this CD is befitting. It’s called El Camino, but brandishes mini-vans everywhere