Nearing a decade since their raw but promising debut, The Big Come Up, The Black Keys are no longer forced to record on a twenty-year-old 8-track tape player in a basement. Nor are they landscaping for a low-rent property owner to pay the bills. From the self-acknowledged “sell-out off” vs. Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig for Colbert’s Grammy vote (yes, he has one) on The Colbert Report, to a seemingly endless number of television commercials, The Black Keys have been all over the map in 2011.
Initially labeled (with good reason) as blues purists, The Black Keys’ sixth studio album reinforces what we learned from 2008’s Danger Mouse-produced “Attack and Release”: that Auerbach and Carney’s musical roots, though deep, are much more malleable than most believed.
Deservedly receiving a 2011 Grammy nomination for ‘Best Alternative Music Album,’ ‘Brothers’ lives up to its accolades. Auerbach successfully stretches the lived-in, falsetto vocals he showcases on his 2009 solo debut, “Keep it Hid”, while Carney maintains the air-tight percussion that has underpinned every track the duo has ever recorded.
by: MEAST SHWEESTERTON
RATING: 9.0 out of 10