The Black Keys - El Camino
Magnolia Record Club

The Black Keys - El Camino

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This is the Black Keys’ third meeting – following 2008’s Attack & Release and one track on Brothers – with Danger Mouse, a.k.a. Brian Burton. Here, the band essentially becomes a trio, with Burton as co-producer/co-writer throughout. His brilliance, as the planet heard on Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, is blowing details of classic pop up to Jumbotron scale. Listen to the keyboard part that kicks in the door of El Camino‘s “Gold on the Ceiling”: a serrated organ growl backed up with a SWAT team of hand claps. It’s Sixties bubblegum garage pop writ large, with T. Rex swagger and a guitar freakout that perfectly mirrors the lyrics, a paranoid rant that makes you shiver while you shimmy.

The single “Lonely Boy” works the same way, launched on a gnarly, looped guitar riff whose last note slides down like a turntable that someone keeps stopping. Then a sugar-crusted keyboard comes in, along with what sounds like a boy-girl chorus, changing the swampy chug into a seductive singalong.

The Keys cited the Clash as an influence for El Camino, and that influence is evident in the increased zip of the grooves, and in the group hug between roots music and rock spectacle: See “Hell of a Season,” whose choppy guitar chords and relentless beat twists into a dubby, uptight reggae pulse. Of course, you can just as easily hear Led Zeppelin in “Little Black Submarines,” an acoustic blues that gets run over halfway through by electric riffs and brutish drums, Carney doing a hilariously great junkyard John Bonham.

-Excerpt from Will Hermes, Rolling Stone 


1. Lonely Boy 

2. Dead and Gone 

3. Gold on the Ceiling 

4. Little Black Submarines 

5. Money Maker 

6. Run Right Back 

7. Sister 

8. Hell of a Season 

9. Stop Stop 

10. Nova Baby 

11. Mind Eraser 

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