Review Summary: Play it loud
As an admittedly newer Black Keys fan, part of me became giddy at the sound of ‘Eagle Birds’ when it dropped as a single a few months ago. I was part of that wave of fresh faces who flocked to the arena rock of El Camino
in 2011, blissfully ignorant of their discography that extended nearly a decade prior. As such, my love for the band formed around their 60’s-70’s influenced style of rock, not their more elaborate, bluesy jams. Perhaps that’s why Turn Blue
felt like such a colossal disappointment, and why a five year absence felt to me like a necessary healing process to get the band back on track and onward to what they do best – rocking out
. The Black Keys must have been in at least partial agreement, and that’s why they gave us this year’s aptly titled ninth LP.
When you think back to the kind of no-frills rock n’ roll that was famous a handful of decades ago, that’s the brand that dominates “Let’s Rock”
. It’s already one of the most enjoyable records of the year on its face; it sways and glides effortlessly through cunning hooks, rhythmic drums, handclaps, ooh
’s, and the kind of distorted electric guitars that would make Norman Greenbaum (“Spirit in the Sky”) proud. There’s nothing overly clever about “Let’s Rock”
, it’s just The Black Keys being their best mainstream selves – and the rewards are self-evident. As a whole, the album is noticeably more consistent than its spiritual sibling, El Camino
, although it lacks astronomical hits such as “Lonely Boy”, “Gold on the Ceiling”, or “Little Black Submarines.” Still, the goal of these records is nearly identical: to immerse listeners in the sounds of yesteryear – with a slightly modern flair – and simply have a good time. On all counts, “Let’s Rock”
succeeds in its mission. Hit the road, roll down the windows, and play it loud.