Revive us again

The Black Keys aren’t just another hallelujah chorus for classic rock

by Keri Carlson

Judging the revivalist music that is so prevalent these days can be tricky. A band can rock harder than a Motley Crue after-party, but if they sound too much like one particular band, it might not matter. You can enjoy the music, but can you ever truly love a band that sounds exactly like Joy Division?

The Black Keys fall into the category of revivalist rock. The Ohio natives dredge howling blues from deep in the delta and hustle gritty rock ‘n’ roll from Detroit. Crucially, The Black Keys do not draw too heavily from one source.

The duo of Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach concentrated its first two albums, “The Big Come Up” and “Thickfreakness,” on retro blues-rock. What set The Black Keys apart from

the number of bands releasing similar styles was the group’s fury and sheer loudness. The Black Keys could rock; however, that was the extent of what they could do. They had no range.

“Rubber Factory” is a giant step – leap in fact – from the past records. Carney and Auerbach add more texture and subtly veer from standard blues and rock.

Before, the ghosts of Muddy Waters and The White Stripes haunted each note plucked on The Black Keys’ guitar. They couldn’t escape comparisons. “Rubber Factory” is not devoid of traceable influences, but they are not as obvious. This time, when you’re listening to the band, you can enjoy it without thinking about who else they sound like.

While many of the groups rehashing vintage rock prompt a desire to return to the purity of “Nuggets,” it is still fair to group The Black Keys in with the other revivalists.

Fortunately, The Black Keys have crafted an album that is distinctly their own.