Listen; The Black Keys are thunderous. For years now Auerbach and Carney have been cultivating this blues-rock flow with somewhat predictable but satisfying offerings. At times the Akron band sounded like they were about to teach ol’ Jack White a lesson or two about what it means to be the best rock duo alive. However its not until this time and this album do I really hear their next big sound. Brothers (nonesuch) is a big blast of blues, soul and rock n’ roll that is unrivaled in modern music. This album’s got balls.
Between 2008′s Attack and Release and this album, there has been a bevy of side projects pushing the The Black Keys to broader soundscapes. While Brothers won’t alienate nuts & bolts rock fans from their past its definitely more complex. The Black Keys always sounded like more than just a drum and guitar duo but here Auerbach and Carney sound epic. Dan’s vocals have gained a moanful styling that even includes a haunting falsetto. His quick 2009 jaunt on solo record Keep It Hid, clearly cut him loose a little.
R&B singer Nicole Wray guests on ‘Everlasting Light’ and Carney’s drumming has easily picked up the pace since Drummer. Danger Mouse is back to produce ‘Tighten Up’ which is a catchy whistler with a great break down. Brothers has a finely grafted motown tinge to it. Like Auerbach’s solo album it oozes a denser Soul. Legends like Jerry Butler should be proud to hear songs like ‘Never Gonna Give Your Up’ being covered by ‘The Keys. It goes to show how much of American music is left behind and underappreciated on today’s playlists. Its pretty cool of The Black Keys to bring some Soul back to Rock n’ Roll. Brothers is so full of cool I might go as far as to say, most headphones these days don’t even deserve to play such a record.