I recently took a jab at Black Rebel Motorcycle Club for remaining comfortably in the retro, DIY, garage pocket they helped to define, but surmised that since they do it so well it might not be such a bad thing. Another group that could easily follow the same path is The Black Keys. To the contrary, the Akron duo redefine themselves, expanding beyond the minimalist hipster rock they thrive on. The new album, Brothers, is an eclectic blend of blues, soulful pop, rock, and late Motown. The time spent on their Blakroc project steeped them in hip hop and R&B and seems to have left a lasting impression.
From the sizzling lilt of the opener “Everlasting Light” to the Danger Mouse produced soul / rock masterpiece “Tighten Up” through to the grinding “Sinister Kid,” Brothers delivers 15 independent, creative, and strong stand-alone tracks. Every song possesses the blues infused garage rock of the Keys in its DNA, but each is touched and invigorated by a gamut of pop music influences. Brothers has every indication of a band with strong songwriting and delivery, but hints at a grander notion – a dynamic, evolving musical presence with real staying power.
Written for REAX Online 5.11.2010