Monday, December 19, 2011


Tight, driving, groove-rich rock 'n' roll, served up by now-expert deliverymen The Black Keys and producer Danger Mouse.  Slicing in at just under 40 minutes, each song is between three and four minutes long, and the whole thing feels like an intentional throwback to 1974, albeit with that signature sound the group has developed.  You know, that buzzing guitar, heavy-duty slicing with fuzz.

This time though, there's more subtle moments, and in fact more mainstream touches.  Check out Sister, a funky, soulful number, but with surprising ELO touches, a synth line, an organ fill, that kind of thing. The 70's have never been more obvious in the Keys' sound.  Even the one time they stop that incredible pounding drum and fuzzy guitar, the acoustic guitar track Little Black Submarines sounds like something you'd find on a Traffic album.  But then it includes my favourite moment on the disc, when the acoustic track gives way to the loudest moment on the record, the second half of the song a scorching number with an old-school electric solo.  Again, that's such a 70's trick, and I keep thinking of all the groups I'm reminded of.  But spot-the-reference is only fun once or twice.  What really matters is that the stuff is all good, right through.

I can tell this album is damn good, because it zips by.  The first two times it played, I looked up in shock at the silence coming from the speakers, in what seemed to me to have been about 15 minutes, no more.  I think it's because of really clever pacing, and the uniformity of the song lengths.  Or maybe I'm overthinking.  Maybe, it's like the last words you hear sung on the disc:  "Don't let it be over". That's how I felt.

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