Favorite

The Black Keys 

The Big Come Up

For a white boy, Dan Auerbach sounds as black as Art Modell's heart. The Black Keys frontman sings as if he were sired by Jimi Hendrix, weaned on Wild Turkey in T-Model Ford's shotgun shack, then mentored by Mountain's Leslie West. The latter would explain why "Leavin' Trunk" sounds a lot like "Mississippi Queen," the other two why this off-the-cuff blues scorcher is so damn good.

Though the duo has been referred to as the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's retarded cousin, the Black Keys are far less a Caucasian caricature than Spencer and Co. The 22-year-old Auerbach has already made numerous trips to Mississippi, where he's performed with many of the Delta's legends in juke joints and shady watering holes. He's even slept on the floor of T-Model Ford's roach-infested home. The authenticity shows.

Auerbach's voice is equal parts heartache and hellfire. He hollers with all the sass and sorrow of a drunk at last call, and his guitar playing is just as rambunctious -- going from fleet, foot-stompin' blues workouts to reverb-drenched garage-rock overdrive in a heartbeat. With backing from Patrick Carney, who pounds out sloshed, ramshackle rhythms on a broken drumkit, it all amounts to lots of weathered, world-weary thrills. Highlights include "Busted," a double shot of serrated soul; "Them Eyes," the Rolling Stones skinny-dipping in Muddy Waters; and "Countdown," a funky blues barnburner.

The timing couldn't be better. Now that the White Stripes are on the tip of everybody's tongue and deconstructionist blues is all the rage, the Black Keys are primed for a breakout. And rightfully so. The Big Come Up is one of the finest albums -- local or otherwise -- that we've heard all year.

Speaking of Regional Beat

Latest in Band of the Week

More by Jason Bracelin

  |  

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Cleveland Comedy Festival @ Playhouse Square

    • Wed., Nov. 29
  • Brandon T. Jackson @ Improv Comedy Club & Restaurant

    • Thu., Nov. 30
  • Tom Papa @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Thu., Nov. 30

© 2017 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation