4 / 5
Song to download: Little Black Submarines
Knowing the history of The Black Keys, The White Stripes comparison is inevitable. Both groups have only two members and have been releasing alternative-garage-rock albums for over ten years. Meg White and Patrick Carney play the drums and occasionally sing, while Jack White and Dan Auerbach provide the vocals and guitar. Although they’re in the same genre, if you take the time and pick up any of their seven albums you eventually realize that The Keys do have their own unique sound.
The track, “Tighten Up” off their last album, Brothers, is what finally pushed the band into the spotlight. The hit is catchier than 15 Katy Perry songs put together, and you could say the same for many of the tracks on El Camino, “Lonely Boy” being one of those. The song was the first single released, and it’s also the first track on the album. It’s by far the most radio-friendly and is easy to sing along to. I also like how the album starts with the familiar before moving on to the new music.
“Gold on the Ceiling” has been getting a lot of attention. The majority of the song is filled with an entrancing raw energy. The chorus seems a little out of place and starts to sound too pop-influenced for my taste, but the guitar riffs are impeccable.
“Little Black Submarines” is a work of art and my favorite song off the album. It’s the only ballad, but it’s enough to show the versatility of the band. Auerbach doesn’t sound the least bit out of place with an acoustic guitar, but halfway through the song they return to their roots and completely breakdown to a full band sound.
“Hell of a Season” has a more laid back vibe, despite the drums being the prominent instrument.
The last track, “Mind Eraser,” doesn’t change the tone of the album, and as the music fades out, the song is left echoing in your head until you press play and start listening all over again.
A few critics are going to pick up this album with the full intent of bashing it. And that’s understandable. The White Stripes came along first and have released some unforgettable tracks. And although El Camino is arguably not as great as some of the The Black Keys’ previous releases, it would put up a fight against any Stripes’ album. Listen to it as loud as you can, without busting an eardrum, and I’m certain you’ll agree.