Back in February, The Black Keys won three Grammy awards for their album Brothers, including Best Alternative Music Album. Most bands upon winning a Grammy either sell out, fade into obscurity, or have every following album compared to the award winning one. Thankfully, only one of these has happened to the Black Keys. With their 7th studio album El Camino, The Black Keys have neither sold out nor faded away. They simply went back into the recording studio, wrote a few songs, and created one of the finest albums of the year.
El Camino is nothing short of a masterpiece. Since this album came out on December 6th it’s been playing on my iPod nonstop. Every single track on this album oozes rock with a tinge of blues. The combination of Patrick Carney’s heavy drumming style and the amazing guitar riffs of Dan Auerbach creates musical gold that is both hard to put down and gets your foot tapping. It’s pretty obvious that The Black Keys are at the top of their game right now. If you’re a fan of the duo from Akron, Ohio you’ve probably already listened to this album more than 10 times. If you’ve never listened to The Black Keys, this is a great album to start with.
The comparisons to Brothers are inevitable however. After a band wins a Grammy, everyone wonders how the next album can live up to the success. In almost every aspect, El Camino either matches or tops Brothers in both quality and sound. El Camino definitely has less of the soulful feel that Brothers had, but replaces it with high energy, upbeat blues rock that really cannot go wrong. It’s a breath of fresh air knowing that Auerbach and Carney don’t let their success go to their heads, and instead focus on making the music people expect and love.
Even though El Camino is one of the last big releases of the year, it is definitely top of the list material. There have been some major releases since January, but this release definitely gives a proper close to the year. If you are a fan of rock that is both new but harkens back to the golden days of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and other legendary artists, El Camino and The Black Keys are definitely for you.