Black Keys

For nearly ten years, the Black Keys have been all over the world, taking over the alternative rock world one dive bar and concert hall at a time. Their one-of-a-kind blend of blues and rock, as well as their lyrics about love, loss, joy and heartache is a sound ideal for a previous generation of rock-and-roll, still somehow grabbing a new generation of alternative music fans by the throat.

The duo from Akron, Ohio recently made a mainstream appearance on Saturday Night Live, performing two songs from their newest album, El Camino. In recent interviews, the band has stated that the new album would take a much faster turn than their last.

With the success of their top-to-bottom-solid Grammy Award winning album, Brothers, as well as their standout earlier material, older fans may find El Camino too hard to handle. Some tracks completely go away from their hard blues-rock groove to a mellow sound that you wouldn’t expect from the Black Keys. The duo swings back and forth between the faster tempo concept in songs like “Lonely Boy” and slower songs like “Mind Eraser”. For anyone just getting into the Black Keys, El Camino is a good album to start with, but do yourself a huge favor and listen to the earlier stuff too. For fans of older Black Keys (pre-Brothers), the new album is great at times, but will have to grow on you. What’s certain is that the Black Keys have paid their dues and their newest album (as well as their mainstream performances and awards) is a testament to how far they’ve come.