On El Camino, Akron, Ohio rockers The Black Keys remain true to their bluesy garage rock sound.
The Black Keys have never been a band I had much interest in. Most of their tracks were somewhat indistinguishable, the lyrics were uninteresting, and several other similar sounding bands beat them to the scene (The Strokes, The White Stripes, the etc).
However, after giving El Camino several listens, there are a few stand out tracks. The album won’t change your opinion on garage rock if you aren’t already into this genre. But if you are, you’re really going to like what you find.
The album starts out really strong. The first three tracks are really upbeat with a sound that you can move to. “Dead and Gone” and “Gold in the Ceiling” are, in my opinion, the best songs the Black Keys have ever done. I think most people will like these songs.
Unfortunately, as the album progresses, it returns to the doldrums of past Black Keys albums. The second half of the album, fuzzy guitars and pining lyrics, dissolves into mediocrity. It’s not to say any of the tracks are bad, they just don’t bring the same energy as “Dead and Gone” and “Gold in the Ceiling” and they don’t do enough to differentiate themselves from each other.
El Camino, as a whole, is pretty solid. If you like garage rock, you’re going to like this album. It’s technically sound and none of the tracks sound bad. If you were hoping for something different or want a little variety, this album isn’t for you.
Party Goer Opinions
Lauren: The sound really isn’t for me. A lot of the tracks sound alike.
Adam: The first few songs did a good job at differentiating themselves. The rest of the album, not so much.
Verdict: If you like garage rock or the Black Keys, you’re going to like El Camino. It’s technically sound and none of the tracks are patently bad. If you were hoping for a new sound from the Black Keys, you’ll have to wait for the next album. Like an album from the Foo Fighters – none of it sounds bad, but it all sounds the same.
Stand out tracks: “Dead and Gone,” “Gold in the Ceiling,” “Sister.”
Video from the album
The Black Keys