Feature

Black Keys: Brothers

For Brothers, the Black Keys returned to their roots by heading to Alabama’s legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.

(Nonesuch)

***

For their sixth album, the Black Keys have returned to the band’s blues-rock roots, said Noel Murray in The A.V. Club. After tripping out with producer Danger Mouse on 2008’s Attack & Release and pairing up with Damon Dash for 2009’s rap-rock project Black Roc, guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney headed to Alabama’s legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Drenched in soul and oozing swampy blues, Brothers achieves a “visionary hybrid of the archaic and modern that the Black Keys have only tentatively attempted before.” The duo borrows a title from Archie Bell & the Drells for “Tighten Up,” a banger that mashes whistling with cavernous drums, said Stephen Thomas Erlewine in All Music Guide. On a cover of Jerry Butler’s “Never Gonna Give It Up,” Auerbach reins in his signature howl and shows off a falsetto. All through Brothers, “past and present intermingle so thoroughly” that quite often “they blur.”

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