BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 The Black Keys: El Camino (Nonesuch)

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The Black Keys: Run Right Back
BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 The Black Keys: El Camino (Nonesuch)

Although Black Keys' previous album Brothers was on the Best of Elsewhere 2010 list and this one will certainly be in this year's final countback, the two albums are very different.

Where Brothers was grounded in classic soul and old school r'n'b and blues, this one kicks up the primal rock'n'pop from the get-go. As a touchstone consider Gold on the Ceiling which sounds like the Glitter Band with Gun's Race with Devil guitar part welded on. Stompin' platform heel dirty arse rock'n'roll of the finest kind.

The spirit of glam rock (specifically T. Rex and the Glitter Band, check the Bolan-pout delivery on Run Right Back) stalks many of these rapid fire songs, but with a typically bluesy twist as is their forte. The acoustic Little Black Submarine four songs in is the sole change of pace, but the rest are far from monochrome songs taken from the same template.

Sister peels off a chiming, dark edge of Farfisa pop, Hell of a Season opens with tub thumping and choppy chords which threatens to become My Sharona and is just as catchy, and Stop Stop is perfect Sixties garageband throwback pop-rock.

Nova Baby is New Wave of the early Eighties conceived in a fairground. Mind Eraser at the end again conjures up the spirit of Marc Bolan for the Radiohead generation now ready to have fun again. 

The similarity with the exceptional Brothers is that Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney again get on retro trip but haul up the most interesting cliches of a genre and rework them into something with their own voice.

At the close of the year Black Keys have delivered a party album that plays like it was always there. The sticker on the cover says "Play loud". Good call.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

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