Black Keys' Brothers An Epic Example of Eclecticism With Purpose

Artist: The Black Keys

Album: Brothers

Label: Nonesuch

Release Date: May 18 (they play the Paramount on Oct. 2)

Stream: "Next Girl" and "Tighten Up" on the band's myspace page.

Skip, Stream, or Buy? Buy--right fuckin' now.

Despite their muscular style and impressive chops, the Black Keys have never risen beyond the level of agreeable party music that just about everyone one heard and liked, yet didn't commit to memory. They were a band name-checked by plenty of superstar artists, yet not quite superstars themselves.

Brothers, out today, should change all that--in the best way possible.

Largely inspired by a road trip to Alabama's famous Muscle Shoals studios, Brothers is classifiable as blues-rock, just like just about everything else frontman Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney have done to date. But more--way more--than any previous Black Keys' release, the duo shows that the genre is far more versatile than an old Muddy Waters album or some band at the corner bar covering "Mustang Sally."

There are times--many times--on Brothers' 15 tracks where Auerbach and Carney out-Winehouse Amy, out-Lynyrd Skynyrd, out-Roll the Stones, drive right by the Truckers, and prove that it's they, not the Lords of Leon, who deserve to be Kings. It's nothing short of a bold proclamation that they're one of the most vital bands on earth, and Brothers is sure to go down as one of the best albums of 2010.

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