October 1, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 64°F


‘El Camino’: Bluesy rock band fires up with classic guitar sound

Coming off the success of their fiery Grammy-winning album, “Brothers,” Ohio blues-rock duo The Black Keys are back to doing what they do best — crafting monstrous rock jams, like the ones found in the scorching new album, “El Camino.”

In a time when synthesizers are the “it” thing in music, The Black Keys prove the guitar is still the instrument that defines rock. The band’s crunching riffs and hard-hitting drum cadences are a shot of energy that invites listeners to shimmy and stomp.

“Gold on the Ceiling” sports a chugging bass line and typical Black Keys guitar-shredding. The track is just one of the many songs that prove “El Camino” is not ideal to listen to while sitting down. This album is best served when the listener is up and moving.

“Little Black Submarines” is an old-school slow-burner that brings to mind Led Zeppelin’s light and airy “Stairway to Heaven.” The track begins like a small, flickering flame and then explodes with crashing drums and an onslaught of electric guitars.

The Black Keys made a wise decision in recruiting production genius Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) to craft this album. Danger Mouse produced “Tighten Up” on the “Brothers” album, which hauled in one of the band’s three Grammy Awards last year. While he is known for his quirky production tactics with bands like Gnarls Barkley and Gorillaz, Burton allowed the raw qualities of the instruments to shine through with this album.

On “El Camino,” The Black Keys lead the charge in the movement to keep the blues alive and kicking in the modern music scene. With their catchy tunes and relatable lyrics, they will continue to build a larger following. Overall, “El Camino” is a modern rock classic just begging to be put on the best-of lists.