The Black Keys are a band that first hit the music scene in 2002, and the power duo from Ohio has been on a steady rise ever since. Their first six albums have awarded them some critical acclaim and a strong underground following that has slowly leaked into the mainstream. Their music has been featured in commercials, several hit television shows (Dexter, Big Love, Entourage, Eastbound & Down, they even provided the theme to Hung), and feature films (RockNRolla, Cloverfeild, Zombieland). Odds are, even if you’ve never heard of them, you’ve heard them. These days, their commercial success appears to be transcending background music, as their latest effort Brothers hit #3 on the Billboard Charts in late May.

The opening track "Everlasting Light" sets a nice tone for a album that is rhythmic, narrative, and soulful. The first few tracks let you know that the bluesy sound that the Keys have been offering up for most of the passed decade is still very much alive, but with a new layer of haunt that shows real progression. "Tighten Up" (produced by DJ Dangermouse) starts a line of several songs that have a timeless, radio-ready quality. "Howlin’ for You" is the type of track that will get even the most passive listener tapping their foot and bopping their head (I’ll put two-weeks pay on this song ending up in one of these vampire/werewolf smashups that are on screens everywhere).

Their is a whole lot of new sound coming from The Black Keys on this album, but it’s not too far from the thick tones and quirky sounds the band has graced us with before. Tracks like "The Only One," “Too Afraid to Love You," and "The Go Getter" proves that their work with DJ Dangermouse (who produced their last album, Attack & Release) has added a permanent, dynamic styling to their old school sound. If you close your eyes while listening to "Ten Cent Pistol" you will be treated to a gritty collection of moving pictures that tell a story with guitar, drums, and Dan Auerbach’s expressive vocals. This is hearty food for your repeat button.

The title track kicks off the back end of the album, where things slow down a bit. You will notice that the placement of tracks on this album in definitely deliberate. In a time where music consumers buy tracks online one at a time, it is evident that the group was looking to create a true listening experience on Brothers. The last two tracks "Never Gonna Give You Up" and "These Days" will make any listener feel like they are taking one of those relaxing, introspective drives home at 4 a.m.

This album is a monumental success for the two piece blues band that began recording albums in drummer Patrick Carney’s basement. There is a definite appeal to what these guys are doing, and if Brothers gets you moving then taking a stroll through their earlier work will pay serious audio dividends.

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