The Deal: Akron, Ohio, blues-rock duo return with sixth full-length album.
The Good: I'm in no way a big fan of falsetto, but damned if singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach can't make it appealing as hell on the album's opening track, "Everlasting Light." While in the past, the band's sound offered a front-porch, stripped-down blues, they experiment a bit here with funk and soul. Auerbach finds his range on "Next Girl," while his guitar is trapped in fuzz and the drums remain simple. "Tighten Up" reclaims the bluesy sound of the past. Auerbach reins in his riffs on the album and lets his vocals steer clear of most effects in order to present a lighter and more vibrant side. That's not to say that sound is abandoned completely – "Howlin' For You" finds the riffs and muddy vocals of past Keys' albums. "Unknown Brother" and "Never Gonna Give You Up" are among the tracks seeking new, slower ground by the band – they're almost ballads.
The Bad: A bit too much falsetto for my taste – wouldn't say it was the best choice for "The Only One." I prefer the upbeat tunes, but enjoyed the slowed-down side of the group.
The Verdict: No doubt that some fans won't be happy with the new direction, but The Black Keys have managed to wander into new territory without losing their personality or appeal.
Nonesuch; Release date: May 18, 2010