“Lets Rock is the sound of The Black Keys at their best, creatively fulfilled with other projects whilst leaving their best for America’s much-loved duo.”

When one of America’s most respected blues-rock bands announces after 5 years they’re releasing a new album it’s met with excitement and fear; it’s well documented that the pair have been working on a variety of separate projects since their last album leading to questions as to why now? Auerbach admitted that, “after [our last album] Turn Blue I was totally burned out, one hundred percent.” Something Carney also realised: “it was the right thing to do, right to walk away from that at that time and just live life, basically.” Concerns of its genuine nature have further been alleviated by the duo’s comedy promo skits including the full-length music video for single Go featuring the pair in a spoof mediation counselling session instigated by their record label. Auerback described how “when we got back together it felt very fresh.” Lets Rock is the sound of The Black Keys at their best, creatively fulfilled with other projects whilst leaving their best for America’s much-loved duo.

“Shine A Light is one of The Black Keys most infectious songs of their whole career.”

Even when your needle drops, you’ve got Lets Rock, you’re listening to it. Auerbach teases that one bit further with an unnecessary drawn out 20 second guitar line with its only purpose to lead to the big riff; and it’s the biggest! Yes, 5 years was worth the wait. Shine A Light (the riff used in some of the promo videos) is one of The Black Keys’ most infectious songs of their whole career, a riff only comparable to El Camino’s single Gold On the Ceiling but, in comparison to GOTC, Auerbach is right – The Black Keys are “fresh.”

Eagle Birds and Lo/Hi are the crunchiest of blues rock with Lo/Hi featuring yet another catchy singalong with its chorus.”

Track 2 and 3 are familiar territory for keen fans of The Black Keys with both tracks having been released as a 3-track EP earlier this year; the release that whetted the appetite of the music world. Without the faff, Eagle Birds and Lo/Hi are the crunchiest of blues rock, with Lo/Hi featuring yet another catchy singalong with its chorus.

Every Little Thing emulates a Hendrix style guitar wail to open before throwing itself into yet another big riff. Every Little Thing is the closest to a ‘generic’ The Black Keys track expertly demonstrating the bands ability to bring the listener up and back down, moving them with its grooves. It’s nearly the Akron, Ohio duo’s 20th anniversary. The band aren’t the 2-piece sound from where they began – and aren’t the musicians whose sound is built on its primal passion. They’re now built on two decades of skill and expertise learned from some of the world’s greatest musicians; an elite club of which the pair are now members. Every Little Thing and Get Yourself Together let the listener marvel in the lead work of Auerbach that would not have made sense on 2-piece stripped down record. As Auerbach sings, it’s time “get behind the wheel”.

Sit Around and Miss You could have easily been the boring track to skip but the pair’s subtle production makes it the exact opposite; an unlikely album highlight.”

Sit Around and Miss You shows the ever present mellow side of The Black Keys whilst demonstrating the pair’s individual legendary production skills. Sit Around and Miss You could have easily been the boring track to skip but the pair’s subtle production makes it the exact opposite; an unlikely album highlight.

“Go feels like it was a logical choice first music video; the familiarity of a warm blanket that never feels too tatty.”

The final of the already released tracks is blues boogie Go which feels an onomatopoeic title; this was never going to be an acoustic number. Go is familiar ground for the listener with Carney reverting to comfortable drumming for himself, using his commonly used double snare taps. Go feels like it was a logical choice first music video;the familiarity of a warm blanket that never feels too tatty.

With staccato guitar strikes opening Under the Gun, Auerbach lets the listener know their job is not done; this is The Black Keys as Auerbach described with, “our batteries were just charged.” This relentless groovy assault continues into final track Fire Walk with Me and it’s clear the duo weren’t short of material when putting Lets Rock together. However, this is the sound of the inspired energy of the pair. Carney described the process; “the way we did it was almost like the same way I quit smoking cigarettes a few months earlier.  We just set a date and showed up,”

“Lets Rock was named after a death row inmate’s final words, the words that have verbalised the triumphant return of The Black Keys.”

As listeners, music has changed a lot in the past 5 years but when describing the recording process Auerbach described his feelings about recording the album in the same way as listeners will experience it: It was so easy, like riding a bike, really.” Lets Rock was named after a death row inmate’s final words, the words that have verbalised the triumphant return of The Black Keys.

9/10

Words: James Wadsworth

Released: 28th June 2019

Nonesuch Records

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *