ALBUM PREVIEW: The Black Keys – Magic Potion
Revitalizing the original roots of Blues rock has been a recent, though not entirely common, trend of the past decade. Successful bands such as The Black Crowes, The White Stripes, and My Morning Jacket have used strong components of blues to help create their distinct sounds. One of the newer and already one of the more respected acts in this category are The Black Keys. The band consists of the duo Dan Auerbach (guitar and vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums and production). The fact that they are simply a duo and that their name is almost parallel to The White Stripes often draws comparisons, but their name actually comes from an old schizophrenic friend of theirs back in their native Akron, Ohio. He apparently used to call people or things he didn’t trust “black keys”. Simple enough, also taking into consideration than The Black Keys use much more straightforward blues through improvisation than The White Stripes. They also have their fair share of famous fans, such as Robert Plant, Thom Yorke (they opened a few shows for Radiohead), and John Peel.
The Black Keys’ sound could fit flawlessly in with the 60s artists that are idolized today, from Jimi Hendrix and Cream to Led Zeppelin and James Gang. Auerbach has the appropriate snarl that make his solos and riffs even more exciting. This is just straight rock and roll, recorded solely by the band (no overpriced technological studio bullshit). Their fourth full length, Magic Potion, releases in September. ‘The Flame’ is a great example of the duo’s songwriting brilliance, as Auerbach’s solos are impressively played, but even moreso nicely written. ‘You’re The One’ is one of the less intense songs on the album, with a supremely laid back feel. Consider it the love ballad of the album, if possible, as it takes a break from their usual in-your-face blues route. ‘Your Touch’ seems to be one of the better displays of Auerbach’s vocals, which come through shining as expected over a repeated burst of developing chords. While The Black Keys have a retro Blues rock sound, they usher in some great material for immature young ears and nostalgia for the older ones.
- Thom Yorke