The Black Keys
The Big Come Up CD - Alive

Remember when you had to have talent to be in a band? Recall the days when you had to have chops to play the guitar. Think about music that had distinctive vocals that you could identify the band instantly; people like Howlin’ Wolf and Otis Redding fall indelibly into this category. Since punk, the feeling and sound that any schlub can make music has perpetuated music. And while numerous amazing bands have sprung up due to this belief, don’t forget the piles of junk that seep out of your speakers more often than not. Personally, I long for music that is so defined that you can only find it on oldies stations these days. ¶ Enter Akron, Ohio’s the Black Keys. Sure, Akron is nowhere near the Mississippi Delta, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t blues there. Actually, rumor has it that singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach lived in the Delta for some time learning from Fat Possum bluesman T-Model Ford while sleeping on his floor. At any rate, soul is not something you can learn, even by sleeping on James Brown’s floor, it has to come naturally. And the Keys have bucket loads of soul. The band roars through thirteen bluesey numbers with a cool confidence that few young acts possess. ¶ The record consists of solid electric blues tunes, backed by Patrick Carney’s swinging drumbeats. Auerbach’s grimy voice can pass the litmus test of true blues. Clearly, the band is well versed in blues history. While many bands pledge allegiance to the blues flag lately, most are merely garage bands that have a couple Blues Explosion records. The Keys have a gritty soul that expands the texture of this record, making it a personal affair. (Pat Wensink)



©2004 Skyscraper Magazine.
All material is the property of Skyscraper Magazine and may not be reprinted, copied, or redistributed without the expressed written consent of the editors.
Site by: Joshua R. Jones