Monday, December 26, 2011

The Black Keys - The Big Come Up

Since I rarely (if ever) listen to the radio and don't keep up much with modern music, I know very little about the Black Keys. I knew they are a guitar/drum duo who were sorta blues influenced, but had never heard their music until I got the Black Snake Moan movie soundtrack, which featured one of their tunes. I was intrigued enough to pick up Attack and Release at the library which made me interested in hearing their earlier tunes. This is their debut release and is highly blues influenced, to the point of them making direct steals here and there - not unlike the original lues artists did.

Apparently this was all recorded live on an 8 track recorder which to me enhances this style of music. As best as I can tell, this is all just guitar and drums, with an occasional overdub, but mostly the group live as a duo. The guitars are raw and noisy and the drums are solid and the two worked together to make their own cohesive sound.

A version of the Beatles "She Said, She Said" is the most out of the ordinary track on the record, though still cool and made to be reasonably bluesy with a nice slide part.

Whoever handles publishing for these cats obviously do a great job, as they are featured on innumerable TV shows, commercials and movies, which has certainly helped their popularity. They do manage to overcome the restriction of their minimal line up and create a distinctive and rockin' sound. I am still surprised at the popularity that acts like these cats and the White Stripes have gained - who could ever have imagined this when garage bands were toiling away in small clubs in the 80's and horrible hair metal was ruling the airwaves? Are peope's tastes improving or is it simply a matter of mass marketing? Either way, it is a welcome relief from the drek that the radio normally plays!

This is a very hip and different and modern (while still sounding fairly primitive) take on the blues and I dig it a lot! I will certainly be checking out more from this prolific duo.