Currently Digging: Black Keys – El Camino

It may seem a bit soon for this Akron duo to release a follow-up to the breakthrough album Brothers, but for those who have been following the Black Keys for years, we already know they like to keep busy. Their first three albums were dropped in the span of two years. The longest they’ve waited in between releases has been that amount of time. And while recent albums haven’t exactly packed the punch of early material, they’ve had moments of growth and sheer excellence along the way. Magic Potion was a critical darling. Attack and Release was a grand experiment. Brothers got them Grammys and Saturday Night Live guest spots and money. And now the Black Keys have returned with their most accessible work yet, this time produced in full by Danger Mouse.

There’s nothing new here, except for subtle growth. The duo has embraced their well-deserved fame and honed their trademark sound for a new legion of mainstream fans whilst keeping the hearts and minds of the longtime devotees. It’s the most focused Black Keys disc since Rubber Factory – it’s quick, powerful, and lacking any filler whatsoever. Perfect for an angry commute or a determined workout. “Lonely Boy” gets your booty shaking, “Gold On the Ceiling” gets your fist pumping, “Run Right Back” will compel you to challenge the mettle of your sound system. It hasn’t been that long, sure, but man it’s great to have these guys back.

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