THE BLACK KEYS' EL CAMINO - ALBUM REVIEW
The Black Keys have been around since 2001, but they only started receiving world-wide attention last year with their release of Brothers. With tracks like “Tighten Up” and “Howlin' For You” featured on the video games FIFA 2011 and NHL 11, the talented rock duo proved themselves to be a band that is not going away anytime soon. Their latest release, El Camino, is just another example of their musical expertise.
El Camino starts off with the first single, “Lonely Boy.” The intro has a pleasantly rough, solid guitar sound. For me, it paints a picture of an entertaining night in Las Vegas. This song could easily fit into a Hangover Part III soundtrack, if it existed. It is an excellent first track to the album that mixes classic rock with the duo's signature tone. Following “Lonely Boy” is “Dead and Gone.” This great track starts off with a fun intro that mashes jumpy “oh's” with percussion. The long, carried out notes of the vocals in the verses are impressive. The percussion and “oh's” provide a fantastic, catchy beat.
Next on the album is “Gold on the Ceiling.” The gritty guitar intro proves that The Black Keys' mission is to make music with a classic rock sound. This song is one of the many tracks on El Camino that provides listeners with a refreshingly different take on rock music. Bands these days sometimes cannot provide quality, creative music, and this album proves that The Black Keys can. Their music is simple, yet addictive. The most surprising song on the album is the next track, “Little Black Submarines.” It starts off with gentle acoustic guitar strumming and slowly progresses into another brilliant rock song. The vocals in the beginning of this track are simply mesmerizing. Around the two minute mark, listeners are in for a pleasant surprise as the slow paced song morphs into a pulsing song.
“Money Maker” is the next track on El Camino and sounds quite similar to The Black Keys' other songs. Nevertheless, it is still a truly striking song. The chorus is extremely catchy with a 'swingy' vibe. The Black Keys threw in a funky guitar solo, too, that combines the sounds of jazz and something the brilliant Matt Bellamy of Muse would solo on his guitar. “Run Right Back” is another track on the album that uses fantastic gritty guitar. The Black Keys' classic multi-octave harmonizing is present in this song and sounds great. This track gets a little repetitive but otherwise continues on with El Camino's theme of portraying The Black Keys' brilliant musicianship.
“Sister” is the only track on the new album that does not impress me. The vocals are a little whiny and underdeveloped. The swingy guitar progression sounds great, though. Despite being repetitive, “Hell of a Season” provides listeners with impeccable vocals. “Stop Stop” mixes classy notes with a pulsing beat. It is clear that The Black Keys make simple, classic rock music that makes listeners hungry for more. For some reason, “Nova Baby” makes me feel nostalgic. The lyrics are thoughtful and impressive. The final track of El Camino, “Mind Eraser,” wraps up how truly talented The Black Keys are as a rock duo. The vocals never get boring, the lyrics are different, and the music is pure gold. The Black Keys are one of the few musical duos these days that can produce music that is both pleasant to listen to and is simply different. I highly advice everyone to listen to El Camino and experience a new, creative sound.
Key Tracks: "Lonely Boy" "Little Black Submaines" "Mind Eraser"