I thought I’d start by warning you that this is my all time favourite album, by my all round favourite band: The Black Keys, a duo consisting of the Dan Auerbach on guitar and vocals, and Patrick Carney on drums. Produced by Danger Mouse (Brian Joseph Burton)—a mastermind behind projects such as Gnarls Barkley, Broken Bells, Gorillaz (on Demon Days), Beck, and later this year on a new album with U2—Attack & Release (2008) was The Keys’ first professionally recorded studio album.
Ahead of their new album “Turn Blue”, I thought I’d look back on the album that brought The Black Keys into the spotlight.
I originally came across The Black Keys back in 2008 when I picked up the energetic single “Strange Times” which was featured in Grand Theft Auto IV on the in-game radio, then I moved on to the album and immediately fell in love with it. This exposure marked a move into a more mainstream spotlight for The Keys, just as the indie rock scene started to re-emerge, paving their way to the success the band has today.
The Black Keys are often compared to The White Stripes (even the names of the bands are pretty similar), both bands feature a duo of drummer and guitarist/vocalist, both play raw garage rock, and both originated in towns surrounding Lake Erie at the heart of the US’ industrial wasteland. But that’s pretty much all they have in common (unless we find out the Keys used to be married to each other), the Stripes Cannot be compared to the Keys in that their influences are fundamentally different, The Black Keys showing their roots in Delta blues, and The White Stripes in proto-punk.
On the artwork:
Designed by Patrick’s brother, Michael Carney, the inky portraiture conjures up a Rorschach infused police lineup which holds true to their sinister tones.