The Black Keys – El Camino


Those who view El Camino as a radical departure from The Black Keys’ signature blend of garage and blues for something in the realm of “pop music” are missing the writing on the walls. Brothers flirted with non-blues spectacle, hook-laden riffs, and plenty of keyboards; Attack and Release featured Danger Mouse as producer for the first time; and the boys hadn’t even used just guitar and drums since at least Rubber Factory. Hell, 2006’s Magic Potion didn’t even have any covers on it. Yeah, El Camino can be a hard pill to swallow for the sincere due to the rockabilly on “Gold on the Ceiling,” the glam of “Money Maker,” and the usage of “Lonely Boy” in that Warm Bodies movie; but where previous efforts had ebb and flow, El Camino‘s got soul and falsetto. The boys wear the Midwest on their sleeves: El Camino is a soundtrack for dusty roads and feet hanging out the window.

Turn Blue on the other hand? Fuck if I know.1

1. Lonely Boy – (3:13) – ★★★★★
2. Dead and Gone – (3:41) – ★★★★☆
3. Gold on the Ceiling – (3:44) – ★★★★★
4. Little Black Submarines – (4:11) – ★★★★★
5. Money Maker – (2:57) – ★★★☆☆
6. Run Right Back – (3:16) – ★★★★☆
7. Sister – (3:25) – ★★★☆☆
8. Hell of a Season – (3:45) – ★★★★☆
9. Stop Stop – (3:29) – ★★★★★
10. Nova Baby – (3:27) – ★★★★☆
11. Mind Eraser – (3:14) – ★★★☆☆

Overall: ★★★★☆

1This review brought to you by my loving-yet-occasionally-frustrated admiration of Robert Christgau.

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