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The sixth album Brothers has been The Black Keys' most successful release yet and this is the special edition with bonus disc. Recorded at Alabama’s legendary Muscle Shoals Sound with additional sessions at Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound System in Akron and the Bunker in Brooklyn, the album sees production duties handled by The Black Keys, along with shared duties between the band, Mark Neill, and their old friend Danger Mouse, who lends his skilled hands to a new track. Tchad Blake brings his sonic excellence into the fold to handle mixing duties (Muscle Shoals has produced iconic recordings from The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, and Wilson Pickett, among many others).
The album includes the Danger Mouse-produced song “Tighten Up” and a cover of the Jerry Butler classic “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
This über-hip alt-blues/rock duo from Ohio has packed a lot into the decade they've spent together. Their songs have cropped up in an impressive array of recent film, video game and TV soundtracks, and apart from several side projects, Brothers is their sixth full-length album.
This time around, Dan Auerbach (guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums, keyboards) have shared most of the production with Mark Neill and, on Tighten Up, their old associate Danger Mouse. The results make it one of the year's more playfully interesting sounding albums, full of intriguing detail and inventiveness.
That's just as well, since these dudes don't often stray far from the lyrical clichés ("There's nothing worse in the world / Than payback from a jealous girl") typical of the various genres they pillage. Even if they do thankfully eschew 12-bar boredom.
Everlasting Light is a winning opener, like a twisted hybrid of T. Rex's Mambo Sun and The Beatles' Come Together, topped with Auerbach's falsetto vocal. The sounds of the 70s also permeate the White Stripes-flavoured hoodoo stomp of Howlin' for You; Carney's thumping cave-man beats are an unholy marriage of the Glitter Band and Butthole Surfers.
Auerbach delights in a dizzying array of fuzzed-out guitar treatments throughout, and although he can be satisfyingly brutal, Carney doesn't over-play his kit and sprinkles in subtle percussive effects. Like the phased (or flanged) drum sound on The Only One, the insistent maracas on Ten Cent Pistol and what sounds suspiciously like sleigh bells on Unknown Brother. It also seems as if some of the flavour of last year's Blakroc project (with hip hoppers Mos Def, various Wu-Tang Clan members et al.) has rubbed off on the rhythms and spooky keys of Too Afraid to Love You.
On a more soulful tip, the respectful cover of the Jerry Butler hit Never Gonna Give You Up sits well amongst the original material, of which Tighten Up is another nod to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where much of the album was recorded.
I'm Not the One features Auerbach's most obvious Jimi Hendrix mannerisms, while the lovely, subdued closer These Days recalls Fleetwood Mac's Albatross, as well as showcasing one of Auerbach's more melodic, crooning vocal personae. Brimful of air guitar moments and other guilty pleasures, Brothers is pleasingly diverse and diverting, with barely a duff track. --Jon Lusk
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This album is my absolute favourite find of the year so far without a shadow of a doubt.
Its varied from song to song, the only true similarity through the album is the quality of the songs...superb!
Everlasting light starts us off in quite a subtle tone, none the less enjoyable and with some delightful vocals, "Let me be your everlasting light" comes out of me regularly in a replica fashion more than a few times a week.
Howling for you is a real high point for me, its leans towards a glam rock style heavey beat, soo catchy, so loud, fast paced (always played at high volume for me) and absolutely wonderful, i defy anyone who doesnt like this record.
I also cant waffle on enough about Ten Cent Pistol, brings to mind cowboy gansters and attractive girls, very cool, beautiful guitar and belongs on a film soundtrack, i could see it fit nicely into a Tarantino, it would definately be in mine, if i were ever to make one...hummm.
Never gonna give you up, beautiful soul style lyrics, grainy yet silky smooth vocals, pure pleasure for the ears telling of true devotion, perfect!
Ending with These Days, so mellow so chilled, for some reason always make me think of the brilliant Albatross by Fleetwood Mac, the most appropriate song for lying in a field in the sun...amongst other enjoyable things!!
In summary a great album, money couldnt be spent more wisely, i advise to make the purchase!!
The Keys have made. I have always liked the Keys, some of their songs are fantastic
3 minute riffed-out stompers, but albumwhise they have never been on heavy rotation.
This however, is pure class and gonna stick for a looong time.
The R&B and soul influences are more significant on Brothers than on anything they
have done before, and I see some Black Keys fans think this is too soft compared to
their older stuff (The most entertaining remark being; " there is NO excuse for
falsetto, this is not The Bee Gees"!! HA HA HA!), but I just don't get the criticism.
It's not like they have gone in a completely new direction. "You're the one" from
"Magic Potion" is very similar to the more mellow stuff on "Brothers"
This is a GREAT album and there is no mistaking it for anything else than the Black
Keys. Their sound just got refined, reshuffled and reimagined. Same, but different!
And by the way, falsetto works like a mother!
Perhaps in response to the outcry, Brian Burton's involvement this time round is limited to just the one track, "Tighten Up", with the rest of the album produced by the Keys themselves. But his influence appears to have lingered, with the band's original raw, rough and underproduced sound seemingly consigned to history.
Recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals studios, you can almost feel the ghosts of those long-gone southern soul greats stalking the sessions. It's a bluesy, swampy, funky and soulful affair that's immediately recognisable as The Black Keys but at the same time suggests a band not content to tread water or simply rest on its laurels. Highlights include "Ten Cent Pistol", the catchy "Next Girl", "Sinister Kid" and "I'm Not the One".
I know from reading other reviews that many regard it as being over-produced, and prefer the older material.
I'll be in a position to judge that soon.
But for now: Brothers.
I can give this album no higher recommendation than to say that it is the first album in perhaps a decade that I have listened to over and over again, in the way (pre children) I once did.
It reminds me of the sound you might achieve if you could blend Neil Young, Spiritualized, Billy Bragg and Al Green.
Where once I'd no doubt have been rocking out at the front of trheir gigs, in my mid-40s I simply find this great, late night music for being alone with a glass of wine, low lights and my thoughts. (Or my wife, who likes the album nearly as much as I do.)
Very, very good indeed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
excellent keys album. this was the last decent album by them.
if this is your first offering, check out all the prior albums by the band. you wont be dissappointed.
Excellent album that is perfect for my commute to work.
A classic in it's own right.
Would purchase again if I didn't already own it!