Album Review: The Black Keys – ‘Brothers’ (V2/Co-Op Music)

Lack of authenticity is no barrier for The Black Keys

One word seems to follow two-piece bands around: authentic. Plump for just drums and guitar and there’s an assumption that what you’re listening to is the musical version of a historical recreation society. The Black Keys are clearly determined not to get stuck in any such rut, with ‘Brothers’ marking the midway point between the garage-rock stylings of their first few albums and the hip-hop influence of last year’s Blackroc side-project album. Danger Mouse, having produced that effort, returns to add production chill to ‘Tighten Up’’s infectious whistling, funked-up bass and sun-baked vocals, while the band’s own soul-drenched fingerprints are smeared over the rest of the record. ‘I’m Not The Only One’ floats over with Empire Of The Sun-esque euphoria, ‘Too Afraid To Love You’ finds the band’s desert-worn vocals joined by stately harpsichords, and closer ‘These Days’ sees heart-strung emotions crashing against guitar fuzz. Authentic? Who cares when it sounds this good?

Paul Stokes

Click here to get The Black Keys’ ‘Brothers’ from the Rough Trade shop