Every cloud has a silver lining. The Leeds Festival was possibly my most traumatic, disappointing and excruciating day in the last 6 months, but at least it brought to my attention the hidden gem that is the Black Keys. On the day when the Foo Fighters were completely embarrassing, Dan Auerbach's outfit performed with dignity and a down to earth simplicity that endeared them to me and ultimately convinced me to buy an album.
It's pretty impressive stuff too. The first five tracks are outstanding in their accessibility and singalongability. Admittedly, it all has a certain White Stripes flavour, but not in a detrimental way; it's just good, honest bluesy pop music with big riffs and little ego. On the downside, after track five I lost interest and everything started sounding a touch samey, but maybe that's because the opening tracks are such quality items.
It sounds like music from a long forgotten time when indie meant independent and being a rock star wasn't one of the most secure occupations on the employment market. Stick with 'Lonely Boy', 'Dead and Gone', 'Gold on the Ceiling' and 'Money Maker' and you can't go too far wrong. Easily the standout track however, is the Pixies style quiet/loud dynamic meets Nirvana Unplugged folk of the gargantuan 'Little Black Submarines.'
It's low key, it's way too catchy, but it basically does what it says on the tin. God knows how they actually made it to second on the bill at Bramham Park, but this is a lovely little nugget of an album. Listen with low expectations and The Black Keys will surprise even the most cynical listeners.