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The Black Keys - Rubber Factory (Fat Possum)
Reviewed by Ricardo, Nov 2005

Charlotte Wyatt

A strange thing appears to be happening... The 'yoot' are starting to talk about the blues in a way that arguably hasn't happened since the 60's.

In the charts we've had The White Stripes and their 'Elephant' making a case for a back to basics guitar and drums riffery, and there are a whole bunch of other pale indie kids following just behind that are all flirting with the attitudes and sounds of the blues.

While it would be stretching the point to argue that The White Stripes are a blues band, there are no such difficulties with The Black Keys. This CD, as with their previous (and magnificent) 'The Big Come Up' and 'Thickfreakness', is unmistakably blues, but blues which seems to have moulded a new variant relevant to it's times... Sounds like the 60's again eh?

The Black Keys are Dan Auerbach (Guitar) and Patrick Carney (drums), both in their mid 20's, who make fantastically raw and direct music which connects all the way back to the Mississippi Delta roots of the blues but which also acknowledges that they're living in the 21st Century.

They play in a similar rough, raw, dirty style as their Fat Possum label mates Junior Kimborough and T-Model Ford which should please even the most die-hard blues purists, but they have also managed to blend in enough of the rest of the modern world to ensure their appeal stretches to people who until recently would not have touched 'blues' in a million years.

From the opening deep boom of 'When The Lights Go Out' to the soaring feedback soundscaping of 'Aeroplane Blues' to the slide based groove of 'Keep Me', the whole things rocks along with intensity and style that much of the blues establishment can only dream of. Dan Auerbach is already starting to receive the recognition in the guitar world that he deserves - he really does appear to be an extraordinary talent, not for million-miles-an-hour technique but for soul and feel and imagination. That it's just the two of them is amazing. By all accounts their live performances are even more dynamic and powerful than the records.

If you're the booing Dylan and Bloomfield type then this is not for you. For everybody else, this is a great album. It's great in it's own terms, but also as a indication that the blues really is alive and well and moving forward. Do yourself a favour and get hold of a copy.

CD £12.95 Available from AMAZON