The Black Keys: El Camino
“They’re headlining MSG?” one of my friends recently asked, regarding the Black Keys’ upcoming tour. “When did that happen?” The question is legitimate considering, for the first eight or so years of the band’s career, they experienced success only in the indie world, never cracking into the Top 40 charts until their 2010 release, Brothers. With this album came a track called “Tighten Up,” which was eventually picked up by pop radio stations, gaining the band wide critical acclaim, including three Grammy awards, including one for Best Alternative Music Album, and guest spots on Saturday Night Live and other late nights shows. The Black Keys were clearly on their way.
Now, having made that leap from indie obscurity into mainstream consciousness, the way the Arcade Fire did last year with The Suburbs, everyone was curious to see what Akron, Ohio’s coolest blues rock duo, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, would put out next. El Camino, the band’s seventh album, produced by Danger Mouse, who also worked on Brothers with the guys, is an amazing collection of songs clearly inspired by rock and roll from the 50’s and 60’s as well as from the arena rock era of the 70’s.
The album’s first track and first single, “Lonely Boy,” has the potential for great success. Auerbach’s brilliant, gritty and ripping opening guitar riff alone won me over whole heartedly. Combined with Carney’s heavy, slamming drum beats that quickly join in, this is a fantastic rock song.
My other personal favorite is “Little Black Submarines.” It starts off slowly with just Auerbach’s voice and some slow guitar picking. Then half way through there’s a one-second pause before he tears mercilessly into the song with a guitar riff so explosive, it briefly makes Hendrix seem inadequate. This song in particular, I can’t wait to see live at the Garden. It just begs for a giant stage and thousands of ravaging fans.