The Black Keys
The Black Keys now join the list of bands that were ‘cool’ and ‘good’ for less than half of their duration. The duo’s once unlikely longevity – sure, there was a big-ass hiatus most recently – adds to that damage of course. But where once they were vital and interesting within the space of never doing anything new as such, now they seem tired and silly as they plumb the depths of the lamest, sac-less pop music they seemed so very much against.
There’s one exception on this otherwise shitty record – and that’s Every Little Thing, very much the album centrepiece, and coming over like Bob Welch-era Fleetwood Mac and its finest. Maybe a little ELO in there even.
Over the last decade or so it’s been embarrassing watching Black Keys fans still flock – hanging on to some idea of branding as much as anything. That also seemed counter to everything this duo made its name on. Everyone grows, everyone changes, the cool clothes and swanky dinners gets swapped for the comfort-food and comfort clothing, sure.
But this is post-vasectomy dad-rock.
It feels like a lazy last ride. A quick cash-grab before signing off. The very best thing about this Black Keys album is that it is most likely (fingers crossed) the last. They will continue to go off and do their own things.
I miss the sludge. That deep pocket Patrick Carney seemed to live in – all sloshy hi-hats and big arcs. Dan Auerbach with passion and fire in his voice too. Where’s that gone? Dude’s been coasting for longer than he ever gave a shit.
Yes, yes, I’m now criticising them for what they aren’t rather than what they are. That’s because I miss what they were. And because I’m embarrassed by what they are.
And what is with that title, those inverted commas, the font, design and image of the cover? Is that what irony is now? Fuck these jerks!
The Black Keys