El Camino is the current album from The Black Keys and it once again finds them defying expectation and following their own path. Each new album displays a growing depth and more polish, they are expanding their sound beyond their garage inspired blues rock with it's sparse sounds and pounding guitar and drums. The addition of producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) has seen the band incorporate more soul and 70's rock sounds, they still retain the ideal of not over doing it, the songs are still quick and full of punch.
Lonely Boy has seen the band crossover to a larger mainstream audience, although constant touring has also assisted. With it's shuffle beat and keyboard lines it's a fantastic slice of pop rock with Dan Auerbach supplying his growling vocals, there is more to this album than Lonely Boy and it would be a shame if that song detracts from the rest of the album. The influence of producer Danger Mouse should also not be neglected, he has provided the album with a different musical style, there is more of a focus on melody, keyboards and other sonic flourishes give this album a distinctive feel. Dead and Gone has a stomping almost Northern Soul feel with a rumbling opening bass line, Auerbach's guitar playing is more refined and rhythm oriented there is less distortion and noise, although his solo gives him the opportunity to revisit his sonic pounding style. Gold On The Ceiling has a more 70's rock influenced sound with it's droning guitar and vocals. The album has a great consistent and cohesive feel, songs are embellished but they never lose the most important element and that is The Black Keys funk, there is still plenty of rawness and power.
Money Maker is more reminiscent of earlier albums with Auerbach's punchy distorted riffs and Patrick Carney supplying his solid backbeat and crashing cymbals. Run Right Back has a similar feel to that of Lonely Boy with that distinctive shuffle and the play off between the guitar and backbeat. Sister sounds similar to late 70's ELO against the backdrop of the darkness of L.A in the late 70's. Hell of A Season is raw and initially sounds like the Clash but then morphs into that Lonely Boy style shuffle before sounding like reggae song after the bridge. Apparently the sessions were fairly improvised each song was written in the studio and laid down pretty quickly which is generally the preferred method of the band. The band will be touring soon not sure if it's December but they are playing at the Myer Music Bowl, that's the big time!