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Akron, Ohio's Black Keys offer crunchy, riff-heavy blues-rock that is remarkably rich and textured, particularly when one considers that they are merely a duo. Continuing in the vein of their 2002 debut, The Big Come Up, this sophomore CD leavens their garage blues with enough innovation to keep things interesting, taking full advantage of Dan Auerbach's full-throated growl. Particularly appealing are "Hard Row," which lurks somewhere between Cream and punk rock, the strong stomp of "Everywhere I Go," and the irresistible guitar riff that graces "If You See Me." The Black Keys might be covering familiar territory, but they do it so well--and with so much invention--that one is inclined to yield it to them and see what they do with it. --Genevieve Williams
- Raw blues with a Black Sabbath sound
Don't laugh.Listen to the guitar sound.That's Tony Iommy on "Volume 4" baby ! Go for it. ...more info
- This has a dangerous groove!!
This appears to be a new direction for the Blues. Any young fans seeing this duo live may not really comprehend that their sound is vintage. These young guys must've listened hard to their parents Blues records and they've put together a funky combo that reminds me of everybody from Fred McDowell to Canned Heat. Obviously the Jr. Kimbrough/RL Burnside influence is strong on all of their CD's. Their sound is a fitting tribute to all the Blues legends. Simple but effective riffs to their songs.Some of the songs also will remind you of Hendrix, JL Hooker or Blind Willie Johnson. "Set You Free" recalls the raw punkiness of 60's bands like the Sir Douglas Quintet or The Kingsmens "Louie, Louie". The title track has that dirty, swamp feel of some of CCR's hits. Whatever their influences they've made the sound their own and they are a fiiting addition to the inspirational Fat Possum label.
It's all wonderfully raw!! I think this is the way Blues should be played.. stripped down with no over production.
The lead singer, Dan Auerbach, sounds at times like a distorted Bob Hite, other times like Lowell George...his voice is stunning, reminiscent of Mississipi Hill musicians and belies his young age.
Every one of their CD's is worth purchasing as there are great tracks on all of them. For just the two of them they make a BIG sound.
A great example of what can happen when youngsters go "backwards' to vintage blues in order to go forward with a re-packaged sound for the 21st century....more info
- Sounds Familiar
This second album exceeds their first release, which sounded like a well studied tribute to Hendrix in many ways. This CD reminds me of all my old favorites; Music Machine's "Talk-Talk"; The Shadows of Knight, Question Mark and the Mysterions, and Syndicate of Sound. Some tracks sound like you wish for a second guitar to fill in the lead or rhythm, alternately. But if you think more than three - four members in a group are too many, this will be to your liking. The lyrics are true blues insights, and the recording is very retro sounding.
I recommend to any rock lover, it is a solid, garage-churner....more info
- I'm digging this heavy hard R & B revival!
A buddy/coworker threw this disk at me and told me I had to listen to it. Being a huge White Stripes fan, both for their adherence to blues licks and for their "medium-fi" level of sound and performance quality, he figured I'd dig it, and in fact, I did. It seemed that although Jack & Meg White often pay homage to Page and Plant, Auerbach and Carney seem to salute Clapton and Baker. Man! Heavy hard licks, gritty "just rolling into Chicago on Highway 61"-style blues. Got the newest on order to see if the Keys have developed some more distinctive riffs (the hardest task in Rock n' Roll!). The Black Keys have it down!...more info
- Beats all the other new blues artists.
This is an incredible album by the Akron, Ohio blues duo, The Black Keys. When I say blues, I don't mean Stevie Ray Vaughn or Robert Clay or any of these new artists who try to modernize blues. I mean, old blues. Like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and the legendary Robert Johnson. These guys emulate from the masters and make it their own sound. They also have an early Led Zeppelin sound with them, such as the case with the title track. Dan Auerbach's voice sounds like it came straight out of Louisana, and it definetly shows on all of the tracks. Patrick Carney's drumming is very good and at times, reminds me of the beats of DJ Shadow. There are some great songs here too. "Set You Free" has a awesome riff, and "Everywhere I Go" is a long blues jam done outside of the 12-bar blues format. Great stuff. Get it if you love blues or if you're a first timer....more info
This album is Great. I don't know how these two guys managed to get such a soulful sound while using so few resources, but I'm glad they did. Both of their albums (see also: The Big Come Up)are the kind that I never get tired of. But I should say, that I think Thickfreakness is the stronger of the two because it has a less retro sound. Check this album out, there's never a dull moment....more info
- Gutbucket punk/blues straight from the Mid West
Who would have thought two boys from the midwest had so much soul and gutbucket kick to them! This is a fantastic disc with the raunch turned up to max. This and their freshman outing brings back a vital edge to blues rock. The fact that two men can make such impressive noise ought to scare the hell out of most four/five peice bands hacking their way through the commercial haze of today's charts. GET IT, DO A SHOT, AND PLAY IT LOUD!...more info
- A slow burn instead blazing bonfire
It would definitely be going to far to say that The Black Keys missed their stride with this album, but there is something about it that is just not as catchy as their debut "The Big Come Up", or their third album, "Rubber Factory". I think the album works if viewed as a slow burn rather than the blazing bonfires of their other material.
Guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney kick this one off with the heavy and ultra-fuzzy "Thickfreakness", the go to "Hard Row", a solid blues-rock number that again has echoes of Cream-era Eric Clapton.
Things don't really pick up until the fourth track, "Midnight", with its catchy guitar riff and smoky vocals. Next up is "Have Love Will Travel", another great old school blues number with a passionate chorus by Auerbach backed up with Carney's rapid-fire drumming. That's followed up by "Hurt Like Mine", which rounds out this triple-shot of hard-core blues numbers.
Next up is "Everywhere I Go", which, at 5:43, is easily the Keys' longest number. It's basically a nice, extended blues jam. It sounds like a bootleg of a performance in some hazy juke joint, and is testament to the ability of this pair to go beyond their usual bite-sized numbers. "No Trust", the next song, carries on with the juke joint feel, and its smooth stuttering riff and smartly-placed wah-wah would make it a sweet driving song.
"Hold Me In Your Arms" is likely the best track on the album. It starts off with a slow, measured blues riff, and then gathers speed as Auerbach kicks in with anguished vocals, adding some sweet slide along the way. Awesome song, easily one of their best.
The album ends with "I Cry Alone" pulling the listener back to that juke joint with an ultra-minimalist number marked by spartan cat burglar guitar plucking backed up by light cymbal-tapping and the occassional drum beat.
I briefly considered giving this album only three stars since I didn't feel it is as good as "The Big Come Up", which got four stars from me. But it's really an excellent album, just one with a different feel than their debut, which had several toe-tapping tracks that would not be out of place as radio singles. This is more of a mellow-out album that bears repeated listenings to fully appreciate....more info
- Doughead says "I don't think so!"
These lame-oid nerds are totally bogus. They live right above me and bang on their dime store guitars all night. They are turning my life into a gut-bucket shotgun shark. Please advise!...more info
- Sick screeches
The formidable indie-blues-rock duo eased into their stride with this sophomore release, a highly solid collection of deceptively simple, reverb-soaked ditties. By any means it shouldn't sound as authentic as it does, but for some reason the group is just able to tap into old southern rock attacks with a natural grace unfamiliar to a vast majority of modern artists. ...more info
- music isn't dead!
If you've lost faith in the music industry, then I suggest you buy this album. Although do not expect it to restore your faith in the music industry. On this album, you will find two musicians writing and playing music for one reason only. It has nothing to do with girls, fame, money, image or any of that crap. They play music because they love it.
This album will sound raw and unproduced compared to what's new and what is already out there. It needs to sound that way otherwise it would lose so much. The Black Keys play a raw, blues-rock, aggressive type music. And you know what? It comes off beautifully. It has been a long time since I heard an album where it was evident the band loved music and it showed. It starts off with an aggressive bang with thickfreakness and ends with a softer, melodic bluesy note with i cry alone. In between, is straight up rocking music with a blues tinge. I for one am not a fan of blues, but I love this album. Do yourself a favor, buy this album. ...more info
If you like hard, grinding, sexy, nasty godawful blues music, GET THIS FREAKING CD!!!! Do not wait, this disc has life altering possibilities. No cliches, no overwrought 'look at me..I am a bluesman' solos. You just get the real thing. Guitar, drums & screw everything else. Guitarist/singer Dan Auerbach is a throwback in every positive sense of the word. He BRINGS it. For lovers of true blues music only.
The Black Keys are living, breathing Gods....more info
- Two guys and a whole lot of sound!
This is another cd I picked up on a lark and wowee. The amount of sound these two guys can generate is astounding. It is truly Thickfreakness! I am utterly amazed by the analog, fuzzy sound...it feels like a time-warp to some funky concert I would have gone to if I'd been born a decade earlier. Some of the tunes on this release are so much fun to listen to they should be regulated. I almost burned out the speakers in my car!...more info
- What the White Stripes hope to be when they grow up
When you've had enough of pop: This power duo plays straightforward, blues based rock and roll. Crunchy guitar riffs, soulful vocals over no nonsense drumming sounds like a lot more than two guys from Ohio. The recording is raw and rough edged, but contains surprising nuances and textures. On so many levels, it just works.
Every Stevie Ray Vaughn fan I've ever played this for was simply delighted.?
This is what the Strokes or White Stripes hope to be when they grow up.?
Bonus: I iffnd this to be great driving music (but watch the speedometer or you'll be in ticket city fast!)....more info
- White-Boy Blues for Everyone
I bought this album based on a great review it got, and I now think the reviewer undersold it. This is the best album I've heard this year, and I'm not a big blues fan. It's hard to believe that this rich, blues/rock that seems to fill every space is the product of a 2-man band. Dan Auerbach is an amazing guitarist whose low-gear playing more than takes the place of a bassist. His gin-laced voice is the perfect complement to his infectious rhythms. While I can't find a B-side on the album, "Set You Free" and "No Trust" are particularly rocking pieces that will have you singing along wondering who needs 4 guys in a band. And don't expect any "my dog left me"-boo-hoo blues - this is a wall of sound with driving guitar and screaming vocals. Simply put, it is what all blues should be: dangerous and yet grooving. You'll wear out your speakers listening to this, trust me....more info
- Black Keys One Up Themselves!!!
I love the Big Come Up. It's rock and roll, as if rock and roll had never lost it's way. Thickfreakness is even better. The songs are more evolved, the guitar more startling, and the drumming even more economical. Auerbach's singing is just as passionate and soulful, but because the lyrics are more devloped, he's got even more to work with. And... it's just as raw and gritty as The Big Come Up. This is a great album....more info
- Raw blues
I heard one song on this album and I just had to buy it. And for an impulse buy, I was not even remotely disappointed. This is what blues really sounds like, no slick production, just raw guitar and great vocals. So many blues singers have unique, but distinctly flawed voices that can really take some time to get used to. The album works because the vocals are credible - the guy was born to sing this style of music....more info
- Fat Possum should know better
One problem with calling yourself a "broken down blues-punk duo" is that you should actually play some punk. The Black Keys sound like your local blues trio that plays at the club down the street who heard the White Stripes and decided it would be a cool idea to kick the bass player out of the band. There's no "punk" to be found here, which is fine, but as blues players the Black Keys are average at best. This album isn't terrible, but if you like this stuff and you don't own a Muddy Waters cd, then you're just posing....more info
I guess I made the mistake of listening to this after I'd listened to Attack & Release. Attack & Release was a great album, but this fell short. I found it boring and monotonous....more info
- HOW COME I NEVER HEARD OF THESE GUYS TIL NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is without question the best CD I have bought in years!!! I have had it for 48 hours and have listened to it over a dozen times and turned at least 6 other people into fans!!Buy this CD and try to play it only once. These songs will stay with you for hours after listening, that is if you can go hours without cranking it back up. If you like any form of the Blues this is a MUST have CD. I will sum it up with Raw, Nasty ,Grimy and powerful a 2 man band should not make this much sound!!!! Buy IT Now!!!...more info
This is a super offering by the Black Keys. I like their latest, "Magic Potion" a little better, but both are so good that you should own them if you are a fan of blues guitar....more info
- Buy it now!
Like North Mississippi Allstars? Junior Kimbrough? The pre hip-hop versions of RL Burnside? Jon Spencer Blues Explosion? Then buy this. Don't bother reading reviews, just buy it.
Then play it really loud, until the neighbors come to investigate. Then convince them to buy it. These boys deserve to be rich.
Do it today....more info
- Something Different.
After seeing The Black Keys live, I was impressed. They have soul, I'll admit they sound a little like the White Stripes but if you look past that there is more of a blues influence. To call them punk is probably not the right word, it's more like indie if anything. A great band though, if you like the White Stripes you might be in to these guys. See them live with Beck this summer if you get a chance, they are a wonderful opener....more info
- A Hot Release!
According to one report I read, guitarist Dan Auerbach headed down to Oxford Mississippi to spend a day playing with T-Model Ford and he has been hooked on blues ever since. Auerbach and his drummer Patrick Carney are not your usual Mississippi Hills bluesmen. Both men are young and white and don't give you the impression that they have paid their dues so to speak. But that aside, their brand of Delta blues crosses any racial boundary and is as raw and good as anything else coming from the Hills. "Thickfrealness" is the pairs sophomore release and, if you haven't heard this band, it is will serve as a fine introduction to the Keys. The CD features a nice mix of covers and originals including the late Junior Kimbrough's "Everywhere I Go"....more info
- Where has this band been all my life???
I'm a bit slow at discovering the Black Keys but I LOVE THEM since I did discover them! This is the best band to come along since Nirvana. Magic Potion was my first Keys purchase and I didn't think I could possibly love anything better by this band but man, I WAS WRONG! This CD ROCKS! Not a bad song on here!...more info
- no sophomore slump
The Black Keys sophomore effort doesn't disappoint folks that enjoyed their debut album "The Big Come Up." More straight up blues-rock from the Akron duo. Their second album includes the song "Set You Free" which appears in the movie "School of Rock" & in the new Nissan Xterra commerical. Lots of great sound from just two musicians...'nuff said....more info
- Their spontaneousness doesn't always serve the music
Some of the songs are strong enough to convince and be exciting, but their spontaneousness doesn't always serve the music and sometimes seems to be a cover-up for their shortcomings.
The basic line-up can have its charme and often adds to the roughness of this uncompromising Bluesrock, but in some cases I surely missed the presence of some extra instruments, like in Have Love, Will Travel which remains too much of a promise this way. ...more info
- Great follow up
I was lucky enough to get my hands on this one 6 weeks before it came out so I have already played it to death. My first feeling was that it didn't compare to "The big come up" but after many more listenings I now feel it is as good with just as much soul as the first. These guys are doing what no other bands are right now, going back to the basics and playing with incredible amounts of soul and feeling. The highlights in my opinion are "Set you Free" " Midnight" and "I cry alone" although I think the entire album is good. I was also lucky enough meet them at the Metro in Chicago and they are the most down to earth nicest guys you'll ever meet....more info
- Thickfreakness, Thickgreatness...
The Black Keys are not your average blues band. They are made up of two white guys from Akron, Ohio. Do not let that fool you though. These guys got soul. Guitar and drums are the only instruments, and with the sound they have, they do not need anything more. The music is pure, gritty, energy. The album sounds like it was recorded in a garage. It is a thirty-eight minute assault on the ears, in a good way.
The twenty-two-year-old singer has the voice of a forty-year-old straight out of Mississippi. He has the moan of a man that has seen nothing but heartbreak and hard liquor. The drumming is genius in its simplicity and the guitar sounds broken down and grungy. It is the essence of the blues genre. It is good to see a band like this bringing back the blues. The blues seems to be a forgotten genre in music today and the Keys are definitely opening some eyes.
The Black Keys have been compared to The White Stripes, but they have a completely different sound, and in my opinion, a better sound. The only similarity that The Black Keys have with The White Stripes is that they are both two piece bands, and that they have colors in their names.
If you are looking to branch out from the popular bands like the White Stripes and you like the sound of guitar and drums, I suggest The Black Keys. If you want to start listening to blues music but do not know where to start, I suggest The Black Keys. They are like a gateway drug into the world of the blues.
The album is made up of songs you would expect to hear in a dive bar. Smoke-filled, packed with drunks, and Thickfreakness on the jukebox. That is where you picture yourself when listening to this CD. It features a great remake of the blues classic "Have Love, Will Travel" that will blow some minds. If you doubt their blues ability, this one song will change your view on its own. Also, the title track is a great way to open the disc. It explodes right away and oozes with the blues-rock feel that is present throughout the album. It makes you want to continue listening to see what these guys are all about. It has great guitar work and a solid drum beat along with lyrics that are so slurred they do not sound like words at all, but it all adds to the vibe and the greatness that is The Black Keys.
So if you are looking for a new band that does not sound new, look into The Black Keys. If you are looking for an album to listen to at a party, listen to Thickfreakness. If you are looking for an album to listen to by yourself and just relax to, Thickfreakness is good for that too. It is a great album all around for any mood. The Black Keys are an original band without being in your face with their originality. They brought back a genre that has faded away from the music scene today and I commend them for that. This may be the beginning of a "Blues Revolution", so check The Keys out before the explosion begins.
A friend of mine got me hooked on this Band. At 1st I was hesitant at 1st,,, I had a mixed reaction. I listened to The Black Keys 1st disc and was amazed by the blend of music they had. I was just a little upset that the songs were so short. I receieved the other 2 for my birthday and am totally hooked. All the music is addicting and seems like you need to repeat it over and over. I think I need to get a multi-disc player for my truck....more info