Black Keys, El Camino

31 December, 2011

By  Katerina Antonopoulou


A lot has been said and a lot more has been written for the blues rock duo from Akron, Ohio. People are trying to figure out how this band got suddenly so popular. The answer for me is relatively easy. One, they're pretty awesome. Two, the five Grammy nominations and the three Grammy awards they got last year for their album "Brothers" are more than enough to give them the extra hype they might have needed in order to move from bars and clubs to arenas.

Dan Auerbach (vocals / guitar) and Patrick Carney (drums / producer) with the help of producer Brian Burton aka "Danger Mouse" released on December 2011 their 7th studio album titled "El Camino". 

The band spend more time in Auerbach's new studio in Nashville, Tennessee this time around ("Thickfreakness", their 2nd album was recorded in merely 14 hours in Carney's basement) and Danger Mouse helped write most of the songs in this somewhat 60's rock 'n roll album. That mere fact should be taken into consideration in the question as to why BK sound a bit different this time around. 

"Lonely Boy", the track opener and 1st single of "El Camino" admitetedly sets the mood for the album. Auerbach's stomping guitar and relatively plain lyrics are more than enough to make you move your head to the rhythm and sing along "..but I came to love you, am I going to bleed? any old time you keep me waiting waiting waiting. I've got a love that keeps me waiting, I'm a lonely boy..".

"Dead and Gone", "Run Right Back" and "Hell of a Season" all have the same speedy dirty feeling that hits you right in the stomach. Complimentary of Carney's bass drum. And yes you are right. "Run Right Back" does sound a bit familiar. Kinda like having Josh Homme rewriting songs from "Songs For The Deaf" (which is isn't such a bad thing, especially if you consider yourself a dj and you're anxiously looking for a good spin).

"Gold on the ceiling" is quite impressive partly because of the female backing vocals the duo used and partly because of the oh-so glam guitar riffs. On the other hand we have "Little Black Submarines" which starts out hauntingly peaceful, with the calmness of the acoustic guitar and Auerbach singing "This is wrecking my mind, Oh, can it be, The voices calling me, They get lost and out of time, I should've seen it glow. But everybody knows. That a broken heart is blind". Until of course the guitars and drums kick off and we enter into a war zone of rock 'n roll at it's finest. "Money Maker" caught my attention because it talks about mysterious hookers and it makes me imagine filthy American high roads and bright street lights where men wander around looking for That Girl. "Nova Baby", "Stop Stop" and "Sister" are simply the songs you'll unabashedly dance to, or try to dance to. At least I will, after a couple of drinks. Which is quite a feat, because I don't dance. And as BK sings in "Mind Eraser" "…anything goes, got this sin in our brain, don't let it be over.." 

All and all, what I really enjoy about this 40 minute album is the fact that's not just good. It's fun. And that makes it even better. You want to hear it over and over again. No matter your mood or the place you are. The lyrics may talk about the hardships of life and emotional frustration but this is garage rock 'n roll you can dance to, sing along to and drink to. 




Primary Genre: Rock

Subgenre: Indie

Release Date: 6 December 2011 

Label: Nonesuch

Influences: The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix

Like This And You'll Probably Also Like: The White Stripes, The Kills, Mumford & Sons

Album Highlights: Lonely Boy, Dead and Gone, Run Right Back









"I've tracked the Black Keys for a while now and I must say this is, for me, their best work so far. Thoroughly entertaining and fun to listen to, I'm giving this a light 8/10 and I hope to hear a lot more like it!"


Black Keys, El Camino



Contributor mini-profile

Katerina Antonopoulou

Katerina Antonopoulou

10 Fluffy Reviews
Remember what Dread Astaire used to sing: “Shit happens when you party naked”. It sounds disturbingly fun. Don’t you think?
Mini bio

She almost failed math in high school because instead of solving integrals she kept reading "Q" and "NME". Luckily she is somewhat intelligent and managed to get her degree from Uni. She now works her way towards becoming a broker, which would be relatively easy if it wasn't for the fact that her social skills are equal to those of Mr Bean.

Favourite Bands / Artists
The Kills
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The White Stripes
Depeche Mode