The Black Keys first made their apparition in my life trough the 8th Punk-o-Rama compilation (surprisingly). It all started with Thickfreakness.
This made me “Wow, this is not punk rock. What’s that sound and why don’t I have any in my collection?” I strongly suggest you to listen it in your car with the windows rolled down, you’ll get that “Dammit I’m so cool!” feeling without the people around thinking “Cool down you wanna be gangsta”.
Then came Rubber Factory, pretty much perpetuating what’s been done on Thickfreakness. You get that authentic Lo-Fi sound with overdubbed guitar and voice. The drum blend perfectly with the rest, and does a pretty good job, considering we have only two musicians here (there is much more instruments used in their recent albums, but this stuff is really old school).
In their 4th album (yeah, I skipped one, The Big Come Up, which was the first), Magic Potion, The Black Keys explored a quieter sound, with a slower tempo. Maybe a little more accessible to the public, they conserved their original Lo-Fi sound (without which The Black Keys wouldn’t be The Black Keys). They managed to keep some loud chorus and breakdowns although.
Attack & Release deceived me a bit. The Black Keys changed significantly on this one. I think the album sounds too much popular, and it made me unhook from The Black Keys (I stayed with the old albums). I didn’t even listen to the whole album. Then came Brothers. The album that propel them where they are now. This pretty good album made me go back to Attack & Release to dig it a little deeper. I found a little treasure in there: Psychotic Girl. Although this is far from the original sound, I was surprised how this track hooked me.
Although Brothers brought back The Black Keys in my mind, I must say the best songs are the one with little or no added instrumentals. I don’t know how it worked for them, but it’s like they can’t stay “real” with too much instrumentals added. Fortunately, they did this on only half the album, which leaves a few great songs that reminds me the good old stuff, but with an upgraded touch, they experience I guess.
I did not really explored their latest stuff, on El Camino, but it deserve a listening.
Ha that music video is nice, but the idea is not new, and I must grant credit to Les Trois Accords for using a black guy in their music video.