The Black Keys have done the unimaginable in my eyes this year. They have invaded the Billboard charts, scored shows at Madison Square Gardens, and are about to play a sold out, $80 ticket New Year's show in Chicago. It's outrageous to look back at this debut album of theirs, The Big Come Up, and see how ironically the album title of this back-to-basics garage blues collection fits their current position at the forefront of mainstream blues. However, while the band has taken off into the public's eye during this past year, I listen to their new Brothers album and feel like they haven't drifted from their raw roots in the slightest.
The Black Keys create music that sounds like whiskey. It is raw and abrasive, and yet just warm enough to leave a smile on your face after passing through you. I was skeptical at first upon hearing two white guys croon on songs like "Busted", "Run Me Down", and "Leavin Trunks", but regardless of the sincerity, this music sounds as raw as anything our generation has produced. The only criticism I had with the album after my first listen was that it could actually go for more complexity. Although I love how raw the simple riffs and snare slams come off, it has made all the difference in their career that they chose to beef up the production and instrumentation on their past 3 albums. The Big Come Up is still one of my favorite Black Keys' albums, but it really speaks a lot for their talent when a band who can create an album this raw is able to to produce an album of similar merit that is nominated for a Grammy. Check this dirtball out when you get the chance.