I was a late comer to The Black Keys. I heard stuff for years and years about how The Rubber Factory was an amazing record or some show they played was so great. Hell, I even heard their stuff in all kinds of stuff I like (in particular the first episode of Eastbound and Down).
And boy, was I wrong not to listen to them. They really are a terrific band (a two-piece at that). But I was lucky enough to finally get into them with this record, the best of their career so far.
For the past decade or so, The Keys have done some really awesome blues-rock, with a little detour into Delta-tinged psychadelia with 2008′s Catch and Release, but Brothers adds a soulful element that really elevates the material beyond the White Stripes comparisons the duo has engendered since both bands’ debuts.
It’s kind of hard to describe what makes Brothers so good — one of the best albums of a year that’s already packed with great ones — other than to say once you’ve listened to it, you want to hear it again. And again. And again.
I’ve heard some complaints that this album’s biggest downfall is its length — and at 15 songs and 70 or so minutes, it is longer than most pop and rock albums of the last 15 years or so are — but when the material is as good as the first two singles, “Next Girl” and “Tighten Up,” and it really all is, it’s a pleasure to hear two such talented musicians take their time.
I think I’m going to listen to it again.
You thought: It’s probably the album to beat for your top spot this year.