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This is from a blog that I write, DyingNote.
'El Camino' by the Black Keys along with 'Bad As Me' by Tom Waits and Florence + The Machine's 'Ceremonials', was one of the most anticipated album releases for me in some time. And all three released in the later part of last year and each one of them is delightful - a sort of Christmas feel-good (can't call it a gift now, can I, seeing as I had to pay for these?).
The Black Keys have consistently produced high quality albums with a distinct, identifiable sound. So much so, I read they have a patented lo-fi production technique. Yet their sound has gradually changed, evolved over the years. Which is why I eagerly await their new album releases. This one, I suspect, their hardcore fans may not like too much. Me, I love this as much as, or even more than, their earlier works. In a change that was first noticeable (I think) in their previous outing on âBrothersâ, âEl Caminoâ has a fuller sound as compared to some of their earlier albums. Patrick Carney still throws more wallop than a drum kit ought to take without protest and Dan Auerbachâs guitar has lost nothing of its snarl yet the music here is brighter (which does not necessarily extend to the lyrics all the time) with enhanced instrumentation in contrast to the starkness of the older albums. Hereâs the blues accompanied by one of its lovely bastard children, R&B. Youâll hear loads of it right through this album mixed in with that typical growly Black Keys sound.
The album kicks off with âLonely Boyâ whose insistent beat should inspire some wild moves on the floor. Ditto âStop, Stopâ which almost has a disco feel to it while still retaining the rock edginess. Donât ask me why, but I think Auerbach acquires shades of Bono in his singing on âSisterâ. While all the songs in the album have the characteristic urgency of the bandâs music, thereâs just a short - about 2 minutes - relenting in the first part of âLittle Black Submarinesâ before the manic energy of the duo changes all that quietness into a mighty roar. For all the abundance of great songs, my favourite track on the album though is âRun Right Backâ. The unhinged guitaring on this song is the perfect sonic accompaniment to the vision of a madly careening car chase.
The way The Black Keys have progressed with their music, I'm looking forward to their next release with a mix of anticipation and some trepidation as to how far from their core sound they'll drift.
I've been listening to Norah Jones's music for years now. This one sounds different from her earlier works and I mean that in a good way. The sound is a little more complex, richer and darker than before. A lot of it has to do with producer Danger Mouse. Some have not liked it (I suspect many of these were hardcore fans of Ms. Jones) and some others have shown a guarded welcome for it. While others like me have embraced it fully. Very enjoyable album.