The Black Keys

Following their 2008 Attack & Release album with Danger Mouse, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney worked on a couple of side projects, went to Brooklyn to collaborate with a coterie of top hip-hop artists (including Mos Def, Raekwon, and RZA) on the hybrid rock-rap-R&B project Blakrok, and finally headed south to the storied Muscle Shoals studios in Alabama, culminating in their new album, Brothers. It's leaner than their work with Danger Mouse (who actually returns to produce one track, "Tighten Up"), settling into a raw, loosey-goosey vibe that's equal parts hardscrabble grit, Memphis soul, swampy blackwater, fuzzed out psychedelia, and seminal, hard blues akin to the crowd across the border in north Mississippi. Many of the tunes simmer rather than boil, but in sweeping spectral spaces echoey with haunts drifting in from myriad points across time and geography: from the Keys' native Akron to the Delta, R.L. Burnside, Ike Turner, Marc Bolan, Otis Redding, CCR, ZZ Top. None of which means the Keys don't work up new ideas on the latest one. There's a greater emphasis on wicked grooves, for one thing, and Auerbach expands his vocal range, weighing in with an out-of-left field falsetto on "Everlasting Light," which also sports an eddying T-Rex-like groove. Auerbach also airs out his soul on a fine cover of Jerry Butler's "Never Gonna Give You Up," which like most of the Keys' stuff finds its strength and purpose in vintage ideas transformed to a different era. With Brian Olive. 18+.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: June 8. Continues through June 9, 2010

 
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