Rubber Factory

Rubber Factory

4.7 8
by The Black Keys
     
 

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Often lazily compared to the White Stripes -- by virtue of a two-piece lineup and a penchant for digging several layers into the muck to turn up deeply sunk roots -- this Akron-bred duo actually cough up an entirely different strain of thud, one marked more by brawling than introspection. Frontman Dan Auerbach isn't afraid to get

Overview

Often lazily compared to the White Stripes -- by virtue of a two-piece lineup and a penchant for digging several layers into the muck to turn up deeply sunk roots -- this Akron-bred duo actually cough up an entirely different strain of thud, one marked more by brawling than introspection. Frontman Dan Auerbach isn't afraid to get down-and-dirty, unleashing his own take on a black-snake moan on the eerie "When the Lights Go Out" and capturing the backwoods vibe of the blues classic "Grown So Ugly" with eyebrow-raising faithfulness. The Keys don't, however, try to pass themselves off as Mississippi Delta throwbacks. While they're well versed in the lexicon of the blues -- as borne out by the lashing slide guitar that permeates "The Lengths" -- they're also capable of pulling a U-turn to home in on a sweet version of the Kinks' "Act Nice and Gentle." They don't take the advice proffered in that song's title all that often, though, which makes Rubber Factory every bit as hardscrabble as the band's bloodied-but-unbowed hometown -- every broken factory window and closing-time bust-up of which can be heard in the disc's grooves.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's easy to think of the Black Keys as the flip side of the White Stripes. They both hail from the Midwest, they both work a similar garage blues ground and both have color-coded names. If they're not quite kissing cousins, they're certainly kindred spirits, and they're following surprisingly similar career arcs, as the Keys' third album, Rubber Factory, is neatly analogous to the Stripes' third album breakthrough, White Blood Cells. Rubber Factory finds the duo expanding, stretching, and improving, coming into its own as a distinctive, original, thoroughly great rock & roll band. With 2003's Thickfreakness, guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney delivered on the promise of a raw, exciting debut by sharpening their sound and strengthening the songwriting, thereby upping the ante for their next record, and Rubber Factory doesn't disappoint. Instead, it surprises in a number of delightful ways, redefining the duo without losing the essence of the band. For instance, the production has more shades than either The Big Come Up or Thickfreakness -- witness the creepy late-night vibe of the opening "When the Lights Go Out" or how the spare, heartbroken, and slide guitar-laden "The Lengths" sounds like it's been rusted over -- but it's also harder, nastier, and uglier than those albums, piled with truly brutal, gut-level guitar. Yet through these sheets of noise, vulnerability pokes through, not just on "The Lengths," but in a lazy, loping, terrific version of the Kinks' "Act Nice and Gentle." And, like their cover of the Beatles' "She Said, She Said" on their debut, "Act Nice and Gentle" illustrates that even if the Black Keys have more legit blues credentials than any of their peers, they're nevertheless an indie rock band raised with not just a knowledge of classic rock, but with excellent taste and, most importantly, an instinct for what makes great rock & roll. They know that sound matters, not just how a band plays but how a band is recorded, and that blues sounds better when it's unvarnished, which is why each of their records feels more like a real blues album than anything cut since the '60s. But they're not revivalists, either. They've absorbed the language of classic rock and the sensibility of indie rock -- they're turning familiar sounds into something nervy and fresh, music that builds on the past yet lives fearlessly in the moment. On a sheer gut level, they're intoxicating and that alone would be enough to make Rubber Factory a strong listen, but what makes it transcendent is that Auerbach has developed into such a fine songwriter. His songs have enough melodic and lyrical twists to make it seem like he's breaking rules, but his trick is that he's doing this within traditional blues-rock structures. He's not just reinvigorating a familiar form, he's doing it without a lick of pretension; it never seems as if the songs were written, but that they've always existed and have just been discovered, which is true of any great blues song. Carney gives these songs the production they deserve -- some tunes are dense and heavy with guitars, others are spacious and haunting -- and the result is the most exciting and best rock & roll record of 2004.
Entertainment Weekly - David Browne
It's pretty nervy to take a crack at writing a barroom ballad ("Stack Shot Billy") as well as cover genuine blues ("Grown So Ugly") and make it appear seamless and without affectation. Somewhere, George Thorogood is sobbing. (A)

Product Details

Release Date:
09/07/2004
Label:
Fat Possum Records
UPC:
0045778037926
catalogNumber:
80379
Rank:
8469

Tracks

  1. When the Lights Go Out
  2. 10 A.M. Automatic
  3. Just Couldn't Tie Me Down
  4. All Hands Against His Own
  5. The Desperate Man
  6. Girl Is on My Mind
  7. The Lengths
  8. Grown So Ugly
  9. Stack Shot Billy
  10. Act Nice and Gentle
  11. Aeroplane Blues
  12. Keep Me
  13. Till I Get My Way

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Rubber Factory 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I grew up in the late 60's with the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Kinks, and other groups that had a blues touch to them including currently Joss Stone. I occasionally bought CD's over the years but only enjoyed 2-3 tracks on each one. When I bought this CD I was blown away by every song. This was raw, powerful, bluesy rock and roll. It was not refined like other groups; it has a raw, basic feel to it. I finally found great rock and roll; it is the best album I have purchased since the early 70's. It is nice to see raw rock and roll is not dead!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been searching for a band like this for so long. Finally I found it! The Black Keys take a classic approach to the blues. This two-piece band keeps it simple with songs like 10 am automatic and when the lights go out.Though my favorite track off the album is Grown so ugly the Captain Beefheart cover song {almost better than the original} This is band is always being lazyly compared to the white stripes. But in reality they have very styles. Go buy this album!!!
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