on 13 April 2005
This is a behemoth of an album - a thrilling testament to pure ability, raw talent and an understanding of rhythm, rock and blues.
As a huge fan of anything blues and anything rock (from Jimi Hendrix to Kings of Leon to the excellent Mofro), I can heartily recommend this album. If you like your singers gruff, downtrodden (but fighting) and passionate about their music then you won't be disappointed. Dan Auerbach gives his sandpaper delivery enough punch to have you wishing you could do the same and questioning just how someone of his ethnicity manages to sound so good. On top of this, he lends beautiful guitar-work to every track, creating an individuality rarely seen outside of Hendrix performances (especially by the more mainstream acts such as Kings of Leon and others).
Patrick Carney provides ample drum work to back up each track and have you tapping along shamelessly in public places!
The fact that this album was reportedly recorded in just 14 hours of one day is astounding - and the result of such a feat is unquestionably great. Perhaps only the late, great Alice In Chains managed such a brilliant album in such a short space of time with their wonderful Jar Of Flies/Sap output; albeit in a different genre of music.
Get this now - you will not regret it. And while you're at it, check out Mofro's Lochloosa album.
on 24 January 2005
How did only two guys from a small town, who didnt even intend to make it big, make such fantastic music.
The only good rock music nowdays is modern blues/soul/garage stuff.
And this is one of the best examples. The keys are the best band not to come from detroit.
Forget all the hives vines and kings of leon crap, that is so undoubtedly over rated, the keys are one of the best modern rock bands blow away the likes of the lost prophets and him and the rasmus and the likes.
With john auerbachs black sounding voice and ever so slightly hendrix sounding guitar, complimented by patrick carneys sublime druming and production skills. These guys are up there with the stripes and soledads and dirtbombs, helping to make the only true good modern rock.
This album is also one of the best i have heard. The vocals on thickfreakness-the title track and the general rythem and guitar playing through out the album are inspiring. especially set you free, my personal favourite. and even for people who wouldnt useually listen to the more demanding hard core guitar styles, this album is quite easy listening and is great to unwind too.
Brilliant is the only word to describe it.
on 17 March 2004
I first heard "The Black Keys" on the fantastic "Punkorama 8" and bought this album on spec. Skillfully controlled two piece blues rock that roars out of the speakers, with more subtlety and soul than "The White Stipes" manage. The recent explosion of "The" bands (Hives, Vines, Datsuns etc.) and their clones all left me unimpressed. Until now. "The Black Keys" deserve to be huge. Will be interesting to see how their sound developes (as all bands must). Not only an album for blues/rock lovers, but for all fans of "real" music.
on 16 October 2006
This album was a revelation to me, and this review may end up reading like a love letter!
When I first heard the Black Keys, I was hooked... Three instruments (drums, dirty guitar, growling voice) creating a wall of raw sound that to this day gives me goose-bumps. Describing the music is easy... its big, riff-driven, blues-based, soulful rock and roll. With exploding drums. And a vocalist who sounds like he's in pain. In fact, it's like Otis Redding as the front man in a group with Hendrix on guitar and Animal from The Muppets on drums. Yes, it's THAT good.
Recorded with a patented technique to give it an extra authentic sound (fuzzy and growling), it sounds like a lost classic from the 60's that someone has found in a garage somewhere and blown off the dust. It's 10 original tracks (and 1 cover) of pure rock and roll joy, with melodies so catchy and classic that you can't believe they've not been written before.
Please, if you don't have any of their albums, part with your money today. By tomorrow, you'll be writing reviews like this one. A CLASSIC.
on 15 September 2003
The best blues-rock album i've ever heard. The album sounds like it belongs in the gutter, with Dan Auerbachs wonderfully low-down dirty guitar play and brilliantly growling vocals to Patrick Carneys hypnotic beats, yet at the same time there is an undeniably regal qualty to it (of the sort that only the greats were capable of creating). The best way to describe it is as the musical equivalent of Swampy and the Queen having a love child. But it.
on 10 October 2003
2003 has been a very strong year for music, what with Radiohead's comeback, AFI's successful transition to the mainstream, The Mars Volta's prog masterpiece, Killing Joke's blistering return to form, Muse's edging to perfection, and The Strokes' "if it ain't broke" formula working a treat. Somewhat lost amongst several other excellent albums this year was The Black Keys' Thickfreakness. The band have been brought to attention from the irritating White Stripes comparison (the only real similarity being that there are only two people in the band), and they are the latest example of John Peel's championing of superb and diverse music (this was the man that introduced several of us to such delights as Napalm Death and Carcass). The word has been slowly growing, though, with the Keys playing to a packed Carling Tent at Reading this year. The Black Keys play straight blues (and have production values that don't go further than 1961) but have certainly drawn on the influences of other artists and rock genres in several of their songs on here. The lack of a bassist and the slightly pretentious "keeping it real" raw sound grate a little. Nevertheless, on second listen you will suddenly realise that this is one of the albums of the year. Tracks that stand out in particular are Hard Row, Have Love Will Travel, No Trust and Hold Me In Your Arms. The album is a slow burner but those who like to listen a few times before passing judgement will be richly rewarded.
on 7 May 2003
Forget all the comparisons to The White Stripes and punch anyone who says "Ugh, not another duo from The States playing the blues!"
The latter may be true but The Black Keys are in a class and indeed, world of their own. Two guys - one playing guitar and providing vocals that you would swear came from a black man and the other drums, both under the age of 23 playing the blues as if they had been for decades in Tennessee.
If you're relatively young, this album i gaurentee will get you into the blues, and if you're old (even if you deny it!) this album will get you back into the blues and will make you want to blow the dust off all those classic vinyls!
They make all the possible feelings in the world, even the ones you think are bad sound really good through the simplest of things. Mainly, a blues riff! I don't want to tell you which songs stand out, because in all truthness, they are all equally brilliant. So just go and discover them and draw your own conclusions.
You almost want every person on the planet to know about this band, but then you take a moment to think about it, and you want to keep it how it is, a band nearly all to yourself!
on 9 July 2003
They unfairly get mentioned in the same breathe as The White Stripes, but these guys have got the blues so bad that it makes Jack White sound like pop music. It's a good wholesome blues album, so if you've got the blues, or like the blues, this is a great record. A personal favourite has to be "Set you Free", it sounds almost familiar.
on 24 January 2005
I was interested in the Black Keys, but hadn't heard anything by them and, though the other blisteringly appreciative reviews are well deserved, nowhere did it suggest a good introductory album.
Having come from the wastelands that emo and punk have become, I didn't really know what to expect from a band who, it seemed, could best be described as "blues-based rock". It's not exactly explicit. And I felt quite doubtful of my musical taste, having recently bought a Clash album and, sacreligiously, NOT LIKED IT.
But it is, without doubt, a fantastic album. This is the kind of music that seeps style, love of tradition and - simultaneously - originality from every pore. I'm not a blues person, but this is magnificently universal in its appeal, and the quality that so many modern bands seem to sap from long-running genres is here in abundance.
I'll try not to go on for too long, so let me just tell you this: if you're looking for something new, like I was, or something good, or enjoyable, then I can guarantee that you could pay any amount for this CD and still get your money's worth. Enjoy it.
on 27 June 2003
the fact that I purchased this album without knowing what to expect only makes the fact that it is so good an even greater reward. from the opening rift of the title track, to the soft and mellow beats of the final song, it is full of great music. the growl of the vocal mixes perfectly with the strong guitar work, to create an album that is one of the best i have heard in quite a long while. True, in general it is nothing new, but in an age when retro rock is so popular, it can be forgiven that they are not affraid to borrow form past artists. i can only hope that it gets more coverage than some of its lesser peers, and that more people are able to appreciate this record.