Brothers

Brothers

4.5 13
by The Black Keys
     
 

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The maturation of the Black Keys as record makers and performers has been both subtle and startling. Danger Mouse returned to co-produce "Tighten Up" on Brothers, but for the most part, the duo was on its own, spending ten days at the legendary Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama and coming up with the an even more intensely focused, deeply soulful set that

Overview

The maturation of the Black Keys as record makers and performers has been both subtle and startling. Danger Mouse returned to co-produce "Tighten Up" on Brothers, but for the most part, the duo was on its own, spending ten days at the legendary Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama and coming up with the an even more intensely focused, deeply soulful set that includes a cover of Jerry Butler's "Never Gonna Give You Up."

The performances are inventive and impassioned: Dan Auerbach extends his vocal range to falsetto on lead-off track "Everlasting Light" and "The Only One"; "Howlin' For You" opens with a Gary Glitter-style drum riff and the chorus practically invites singing along. The tunes offer a surprising amount of lyrical candor and more than a little dark humor; the grooves alternate between ballsy swagger and bluesy rumination. The album reflects where Auerbach and Patrick Carney have been lately, most recently collaborating with a who's who of New York City MC's, including RZA, Q Tip, Mos Def and Raekwon on the 2009 BlakRoc super-session organized by hip-hop impresario and Black Keys fan Damon Dash.

Brothers was primarily cut in Muscle Shoals, a setting that turned out to have more in common with the Akron, Ohio factories where the Black Keys used to record. The place was desolate, the town depressed, so once again the duo slipped into a world all its own. They did additional recording at Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound System in Akron and The Bunker in Brooklyn. The album was mixed by engineer Tchad Blake, a veteran of sessions with Los Lobos, Pearl Jam, and Peter Gabriel. Says Carney, "The way he approaches mixing is the same way we approach making music. Respecting the past while being in the present." From the Label

Product Details

Release Date:
05/18/2010
Label:
Nonesuch
UPC:
0075597981438
catalogNumber:
520266
Rank:
59

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Brothers 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
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BMan80 More than 1 year ago
Every time I get a new Black Keys album, I feel a mix of excitement and dread before I play it. I always think "maybe this is the album that they finally disappoint on," but thankfully, that has yet to happen. The first track, Everlasting Light, starts the album off with a bang. Dan is singing in falsetto, which I've never heard, and the beat Pat lays down is pretty wicked. It definitely gets your head bobbing and sets up the rest of the record very well. I actually listened to it two more times before continuing on with the rest of the album. Howlin' for you is another stomper in the same mold as Everlasting Light. There's also a nice 2 minute song called Black Mud where Dan and Pat just jam. There's also a few really good slow songs, like Never Gonna Give You Up, which reminded me of the song You're The One off of Magic Potion. The album also has that same kind of ethereal sound that was on Dan's solo album, Keep It Hid, and there are not as many riff heavy songs as usual. Basically, it's as awesome as every other Black Keys album, and if you don't buy it, then you should punch yourself in the face.
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QueenDopamine More than 1 year ago
That's the last time I'm buying an album based soley on a review and a few 30 second samplings. As a huge fan of the Black Keys of the thickfreakness fame, I've come to revere them on any album for their garage-rock blues style and soulful, powerful delivery. It seems though that with their past two albums, the Black Keys have not only turned to new tricks and sounds, they've turned into a whole new band--Gnarles Barkley. That is who I equate them to everytime I listen to Brothers or Attack and Release. Not in a bad way, it's just that they are retro rock blues revivalists in my mind. So for them to add so much piano tinkling and indie poppiness and boistrous drumming, they become different. The difference though between Brothers and Attack and Release is that the latter is instrinsically better. Brothers is wrought with falsetto, dingy-sounding keys, drum beats that sound computer-generated, bad lyrics (Next Girl flows so horribly, how did singer Dan Auerbach not notice?) and poppy-in-a-bad-way melodies. The Only One is grating and sugary. Never Gonna Give You Up should be on a rejected R&B star's album. 10 Cent Pistol is wildly disappointing because simply with that title they could have created a better melody and delivery. However, the one thing it does have that it's predecessor Attack and Release did not is Howlin for You, She's Long Gone and Sinister Kid--three fantastic songs, so great that I wonder how they missed the boat on the rest of the album. Howlin' For You encompasses everything the Keys are and everything I wanted this album to be--blues, energy, rawness, musical genius. She's Long Gone is now one of my top two or three favorite Keys songs, you'll just have to hear it (it's got sex and swagger, what else do you want?). And Sinister Kid is clever writing and catchy, without all the bad-taste-in-the-mouth crap of the other songs. As much as I liked Attack and Release, it doesn't have any songs like these, though the writing and musical construction are overall better. I wouldn't recommend Brothers, but I highly recommend those three songs and even The Go Getter and Black Mud. However, if you're looking for an album with a more robust package to offer, pick up Attack and Release.
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