By Emily Jade Ricalton
After five years since the 2014 release of their Grammy award winning album, ‘Turn Blue’, the Black Keys have made an anticipated return with their brand new album, ‘Let’s Rock’, but has it been worth the wait?
Receiving a 7-rating from Pitchfork magazine, the album seems to have impressed fans of the Austin-based band, despite their lack of dedication to the music scene over recent years. The classic, psychedelic rock band first broke the music industry with their hit album ‘Brothers’ in 2010, following that with the just as popular 2011 release of ‘El Camino’. The albums, which contained the likes of ‘Lonely Boy’ and ‘Next Girl’ both featured a raw sound that was reminiscent of 1970s rock music. Taking inspiration from this decade, we see this tinted, imperfect sound make a return on ‘Let’s Rock’, with tracks like ‘Eagle Birds’ resembling the likes of Jimi Hendrix through their beautifully made, yet gritty guitar riffs and solos.
Having been heavily influenced by psychedelic rock music, ‘Let’s Rock’ casts listeners’ minds back to the music of Pink Floyd, with tracks like ‘Walk Across The Water’ and ‘Breaking Down’, featuring a distorted quality similar to that of the iconic 1970s band. Both of these tracks include a romantic edge that represents the two juxtaposing sides of relationships, one of which listeners can easily identify with; a factor that always attracts a solid fan base. Unlike ‘Walk Across the Water’, where we hear Auerbach swearing that he’d gracefully ‘walk across the water for you’, ‘Breaking Down’ kicks with a heavy beat that is sure to resemble the pain of going through the different emotions of heartbreak. The repetition used throughout this breakup song creates a simplistic edge that emphasises the track as a clear standout from the album, one of which can easily be compared to as the new ‘Lonely Boy’ of the duo’s fifth studio album.
As stated by NME Magazine, ‘Let’s Rock’ was created by drummer Patrick Carney, and frontman Dan Auerbach, in an effort to ban overthinking and complexity from the studio. It was an album formed through spontaneous music construction, an element of which is clear throughout the processes of this brand new album. Unlike ‘Turn Blue’, which featured a psychedelic and calm element to its sound, ‘Let’s Rock’ can seem almost chaotic with each song. The release features every element of the blues genre, something of which hasn’t been seen within the band’s music before. Individually, each song seems to be perfect, but together these flawless songs do not seem right for each other.
Despite its lack of structure, which, of course, was an element the duo wanted to include throughout the sound of the album, ‘Let’s Rock’ has great potential. As a whole, it features tracks from all different genres of rock music. This has not only helped to attract fans from the previous albums, but it has also attracted generations of rock music lovers and followers. It seems to be an album that attracts all. By having confident and outgoing tracks, such as ‘Lo/Hi’, it is sure to get these listeners feeling buzzing, blessing them with guitar solos that strut through the whole dynamic of the album. This song is without a doubt a masterpiece of ‘Let’s Rock’, leaving no room for disappointment and making the album worth listening to.
Overall, this loose, yet creative and fun album is very unique to the previous style of The Black Keys, making it a controversial piece that is sure to catch the eye of fans and critics. It is definitely an album of personal preference, one of which I can highly recommend.
‘Let’s Rock’ came out on June 28, 2019.