The Black Keys: Brothers 

The Black Keys have done a couple of new things recently: They cut their hair and put out their latest album, Brothers (Nonesuch). Singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney are pros at writing hard-hitting blues numbers. In Brothers, their sixth release, they bring a heavy combination of crunchy riffs, dust-bowl blues and loose fleshy drum beats, resulting in their richest and most substantial album yet. Press play and immediately the drums start stomping beneath a muted, fuzzed-out guitar on "Everlasting Light." "Next Girl" is a fun anthem that any guy can relate to: "My next girl / will be nothing like my ex-girl. / I made mistakes back then / I'll never do it again." "Howlin For You" would work well on a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack with its old-school spaghetti western jangle. Sprawling, greasy and rife with hooks, songs such as "Ten Cent Pistol," "I'm Not The One" and "Sinister Kid" keep the album rocking, while "The Only One," "These Days" and "Never Gonna Give You Up" contrast as subtle come-down numbers, the latter utilizing soft, backing feminine vocals to underscore Auerbach's blues howl. In total, the album runs for nearly an hour, and while there are stagnant moments, the majority of Brothers remains exciting and entertaining­—an impressive feat for a sixth full-length album. All told, Brothers is a fine addition to an already impressive discography.

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