The Black Keys have returned to us with “Let’s Rock”, their brand new album released in late June this year.
We’ve taken the time to have a proper listen to Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney’s barrel of bluesy goodness. The duo have made the hero’s journey and returned to a point of profound creative meaning following their five-year break. All we can say is, it’s an absolute joy to listen to old school rock n’ roll in 2019.
The Ohio rock duo are back together after a five-year hiatus. “Let’s Rock” takes the band back to first principles with modest guitar riffs, powerful harmonies and a sensationally grungy, bluesy vibe.
The best place to start with the duo’s ninth album is a holistic emphasis on their old-school, traditional Black Keys sound. Think El Camino (2011), but instead of a boring bread and butter repeat, we immerse ourselves into a gritty, deeper and more profound understanding of the band’s musical ideology, and take on the blues genre. While some critics would disagree, there is a noticeable deviation from the experimentation of Turn Blue (2014). Let’s talk about a few of the highlights:
The stand out track is undoubtedly the band’s first single to reach number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, Lo/Hi. The pentatonic lead riff, conflated with the constant overdriven bluesy pedal point, makes you feel like you’re road-tripping on Route 66, with the top down and no complaints about the world.
Go makes you think of Dorian harmonies, upbeat rhythms, and cranked-up overdrive. Director Bryan Schlam emphasised the purpose of the video as an answer to the Black Key fanbase’s question, “Where have the guys been for 5 years?”.
“I thought- Let’s send them to the next level of therapy. A retreat. A commune. A place that’s supposed to symbolise peace and unity…and they’ll hate every second of it.
“It was a challenging video, not only in the task of having Dan and Patrick act in almost every shot – but also in keeping a narrative that feels cinematic and funny at the same time. We tried to balance the two, relying on situational humour and the effortlessly cool vibe of the song.”
Peaceful but grungy, understated but powerful, the album’s opening track is what captivates listeners, and in this sense, Shine A Little Light ticks all of the boxes. We’re reminded of the beautiful balance of high tone instrumentation and clean vocals, that define this band’s sound.
The album is a strange reminder of past rock n’ roll excellence, combined with an exciting glimpse into the future of indie music to come. For listeners, it’s an absolute cracker of a record. The Black Keys are going to be touring USA and Canada in September, and you can check out the tour dates on their website here.
Make sure to listen to the rest of “Let’s Rock” below: