The Black Keys' El Camino: A First Listen
Driving psychedelia? Slowed-down Stooges? Dirtied-down funk? Does any of this sound interesting to you? Does any of it sound new? And you know gutbucket singing? Auerbach's is made of nylon.
"Hell of a Season"
Patrick Carney stomps pretty hard here, and it's the first or second song where each chord change isn't totally predictable, so congratulations, they're making strides toward not boring me to death. But "Season"/"Reason" is a hook rhyme? Didn't making Blakroc teach them anything about rapping?
Awesome, finally some Blue Cheer-style-intro psych garage. Sounds like the best song by a big margin. Falsetto chorus that I bet someone will compare to Motown. That's fine and all but, well, "fine and all" is the curse of this band.
As they drop the "riff," songs they can only get more interesting, which means the latter tracks take on more personality (like ? and the Mysterians), the occasional soul reference, and just general American junk without much grease or oil in its stiff-necked ways. The bridge and organ coda are nice, but every time these guys try to shake up the ordinary they somehow end up sounding more ordinary. The second half of El Camino is more tuneful, but you're better off listening to Elizabeth Cook's "El Camino" eleven times instead -- the song where some idiot with a pervmobile drops a Quaalude in her beer and she runs her hands through his mullet anyway.
Just to make this clear to the rockists reading: this album has less surprise and adventure than Maroon 5's It Won't Be Soon for Long or Miley Cyrus' Breakout. How did we let rock devolve to the point where corporate pop is more adventurous, juicy, and twisted? "Oh don't let it be over," chants Auerbach horrifyingly. Meanwhile, I'd love a mind eraser.