The Black Keys: Brothers

Dale Krause, Editor-in-Chief

Brothers was released on May 18, 2010 and the album definitely begins with a good, hard punch in the chops. The album presents all the funky, psychedelia tones from the previous album but takes it to a new level. While Attack and Release was a definite Black Keys album, sticking to the same barnyard-social blues template as previous works, it appears that with Brothers they’d actually reached some sort of innovational shift.

Mind you, it’s not an enormous, earthquake sized shift, but it’s still something new. Tracks like “Next Girl”, “Tighten Up”, and “Howlin’ For You” carry the tone of being more playful than usual. Coincidentally tracks such as “I’m Not the One” and “Unknown Brother” wouldn’t feel completely out of place on Attack and Release.

Brother is scattered with fuzzy guitar tones and some strange direction with voice work, once again. It feels fresh to hear singer Dan Auerbach slightly shift up his vocal structure during parts of Attack and Release, it was even more apparent that he truly pushed himself in Brother. Right off the bat on track one, “Everlasting Light”, Auerbach sails smoothly into a sort of falsetto tone. What’s incredible is that Auerbach pulls it off with such control that he’s able to add vibrato.

Once again, the band teamed up with Danger Mouse to produce quality work. While this is the second time that DM has worked with the blues-y duo, it appears that his presence has been an influence, perhaps helping to push them into this slightly new inspired direction.

While the Black Keys aren’t known for reinventing the wheel, they’ve definitely developed onto their own sound in a blatantly positive direction. While it appears that the band is being hoisted up by their jockies and riffing psychedelic blues like there’s no tomorrow, there remains the question if they can push their sound again come next album. But as for Brothers, it doesn’t get any blues-funkier than this.