December 6, 2011 / 11:20 PM / 7 years ago

Black Keys' "El Camino" hits right note with critics

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Black Keys returned to rock ‘n’ roll on Tuesday with their new album “El Camino” that earned solid critical praise and quickly reached the top spot on iTunes’ album chart.

The blues and rock duo’s seventh studio album, which was produced by Danger Mouse, is a follow-up to The Black Keys’ Grammy-winning 2010 album “Brothers” that catapulted the band to global recognition.

Singles from “Brothers,” such as “Tighten Up” and “Howlin’ For You,” were featured throughout 2010 and 2011 on TV shows and in advertisements, helping make “El Camino” among this year’s most anticipated records for fans and the industry.

The band, formed in Ohio 10 years ago, cite numerous influences in different genres from hip-hop to rock and blues.

“We really like really repetitive hooks, because that’s what Dan and I grew up listening to,” drummer Patrick Carney said in an interview with National Public Radio this year.

“Dan grew up listening to blues, and I grew up listening to classic rock. But we both kind of bonded mostly over Wu-Tang samples and hooks of Stax Records and old soul records,” Carney added.

On “El Camino,” the band display prominent rock ‘n’ roll influences in up-tempo tracks such as “Run Right Back” and lead single “Lonely Boy,” while slower guitar tracks like “Little Black Submarines” allow lead singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach to showcase his voice with lyrics such as “I should have seen it glow, but everybody knows, that a broken heart is blind.”

Critical reception of “El Camino” has been positive, with reviewers praising the band for a successful sequel to their 2010 breakthrough record.

Chris Willman at called the “stunning new” album a “great date-night music, as raucous and celebratory on the surface as it is nervous underneath.”

Rolling Stone’s Will Hermes said it is “the Keys’ grandest pop gesture yet, augmenting dark-hearted fuzz blasts with sleekly sexy choruses and Seventies-glam flair.” He gave the record four out of five stars.

Kitty Empire at British newspaper The Observer praised the band’s up-tempo beats but found the album to be “somewhat undemanding,” giving it three out of five stars, while Michael Hann at The Guardian newspaper awarded the album five out of five stars, calling it the “year’s best rock ‘n’ roll album.”

The album is currently topping the iTunes album chart, while lead single “Lonely Boy” is No. 3 in the Billboard Rock Songs chart.

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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