The Black Keys: El Camino – review


The seventh album from the Black Keys reflects the duo's unlikely ascension to Proper Rock Star status, dripping with an easy, attractive confidence. There's still a garage band in there, but – with the assistance of producer Danger Mouse – they stride fearlessly into areas that might once have been off-limits, as with the taut, clipped FM rock of Sisters, or the Glitter Band-via-Goldfrapp stomp of Gold on the Ceiling. Danger Mouse colours in the backgrounds adeptly with dabs of sound – synth here, backing vocals there – though Dan Auerbach's guitars remain everywhere. Their faith in their own ability to master anything is apparent on the opener, Lonely Boy, which begins with a dirty, fuzzy guitar riff and pounding floor toms, before a brief keyboard hook, which in turn gives way to a rockabilly guitar line and snare shuffle, which itself is subsumed beneath a huge, sleek chorus. They sound like a band who think they've made the year's best rock'n'roll album, probably because that's exactly what they've done.


Michael Hann

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
CD: The Black Keys, Chulahoma

(Fat Possum)

Caroline Sullivan

28, Apr, 2006 @12:12 AM

Article image
CD: The Black Keys, Attack and Release


Jude Rogers

28, Mar, 2008 @12:27 AM

Article image
'We've put in more hours than anyone': The Black Keys interviewed
The Black Keys' blend of garagey guitars and hip-hop dynamics is helping them towards rock mega-stardom. They tell Dave Simpson about struggling to keep their heads level

Dave Simpson

01, Dec, 2011 @9:40 PM

The Black Keys: El Camino – review
After the R&B-flavoured rock of Brothers, the Black Keys' one-dimensional seventh album is a disappointment, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

27, Nov, 2011 @12:04 AM

Article image
The Black Keys – review
The Black Keys locate that imaginary button that makes grown adults want to play air guitar and perform drum patterns on their knees, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

05, Feb, 2012 @5:36 PM

Black Keys, Wilton's Music Hall, London

Wilton's Music Hall, London

Paul Lester

24, Mar, 2008 @12:05 AM

The Black Keys | Pop review
Roundhouse, London
Singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach may have hacked his beard back, but not his band's full-figured blues-rock sound, writes Caroline Sullivan

Caroline Sullivan

24, Jun, 2010 @10:00 PM

The Black Keys: Brothers | CD review
Album No 6 from the Black Keys shows plenty of life, but leans too heavily on howling bar-room blues riffing, finds Will Dean

Will Dean

13, May, 2010 @10:30 PM

Blakroc: Blakroc | CD review

Blakroc brings together blues-rock duo the Black Keys, Jay-Z's old partner Damon Dash, producing, and various A-listish MCs, says Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

04, Dec, 2009 @12:01 AM

The great rock'n'roll sellout

Gone are the days when bands would be scorned for getting into bed with corporate sponsors and brands, so what ever happened to "selling out"? Dorian Lynskey finds out

Dorian Lynskey

30, Jun, 2011 @9:00 PM