The Black Keys: “Let’s Rock” review – easy-listening return to basics

(Nonesuch)

Their first record since 2006’s Magic Potion without the guiding hand of Danger Mouse on production duties finds the Black Keys reverting to the simple, stripped-back bluesy rock of their earlier work. The sense that “Let’s Rock” is a conscious return to basics is only amplified by that title, even if the quote marks give them the option of distancing themselves from the sentiment.

Ironic or not, there’s certainly plenty here that’s easy on the ear, from the breathlessly propulsive rhythm of Eagle Birds and the slick 70s-influenced AOR of Tell Me Lies to the Stonesy swagger of recent single Lo/Hi (even if the latter’s lyrics appear to have been composed using a Bobby Gillespie-edition fridge-magnet poetry set: “Out on a limb in the wind of a hurricane”, indeed).

However, while this set offers further evidence to suggest that Dan Auerbach was rather exaggerating the extent of his writer’s block on his 2017 solo album, Waiting on a Song, equally there is nothing that comes close to matching the unbridled euphoria of the breakthrough songs that made them unlikely indie disco floor-fillers at the start of the decade. It all adds up to an album that’s solid rather than spectacular.

Listen to Lo/Hi from the Black Keys.

Contributor

Phil Mongredien

The GuardianTramp

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