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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A big helping of blues-rock, extra crunchy
Take a big chunk of blues rock, throw it in a sack with some Cream-era Eric Clapton, a bit of Jimi Hendrix, a pinch of Stevie Ray Vaughn and a hint of Creedence. Shake vigorously, deep fry until extra-crunchy.

Akron, Ohio duo The Black Keys followed just this recipe for their minimalist debut album, with results that are nothing short of amazing...
Published on February 5, 2005 by M. S. Hillis

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sincere Blues
They're certain to hate it, but Akron's The Black Keys are going to be compared to The White Stripes. Which is shorthand for: they're a combo that adores the blues. On The Big Come Up, guitarist/vocalist David Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney sound like they stepped out of the Mississippi delta listening to John Lee Hooker (vibe), Creedence Clearwater Revival...
Published on January 27, 2003 by WrtnWrd


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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A big helping of blues-rock, extra crunchy, February 5, 2005
By 
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This review is from: The Big Come Up (Audio CD)
Take a big chunk of blues rock, throw it in a sack with some Cream-era Eric Clapton, a bit of Jimi Hendrix, a pinch of Stevie Ray Vaughn and a hint of Creedence. Shake vigorously, deep fry until extra-crunchy.

Akron, Ohio duo The Black Keys followed just this recipe for their minimalist debut album, with results that are nothing short of amazing.

Guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach's fingers canter up and down blues scales with ease, and his fuzz dial is obviously set to "11". His sandpapery pipes sound as if he's guzzled whisky and puffed filterless Camels for far longer than his 20-some-odd years would allow. This guy has no business be able to sing like this.

Auerbach is perfectly complemented by Patrick Carney's enthusiastic pounding of the skins, which is never, ever relegated to just providing a background beat. As producer, Carney is also largely to thank for the Keys's distinctive gritty bootleg sound that sounds as if you're spinning a dusty 45 unearthed in the back of some record shop.

The pair come barreling out of the gate with the very first track, "Busted", an energetic number that immediately gives notice to listeners that this band is about scorching, unapologetic blues.

From there, they move into the down-and dirty "Do the Rump" and on to the slightly Creedence-ish "I'll Be Your Man." A few tracks later is another straight-up blues song, "Run Me Down", which leads into "Leavin' Trunk", an incredible song that sounds like it could have been an undiscovered Cream gem. Then it's into the ultra-fuzzed out "Heavy Soul". Their cover of The Beatles' "She Said She Said" is nothing short of amazing. It is the perfect cover -- reimagining a classic while remaining true to its heart and soul.

The album wraps up with "Brooklyn Bound", another masterful blues rock number that sounds like something you only hear on classic radio stations at like 2:00 a.m. Actually this is technically the second-to-last song, but the real last song, "240 Years Before Your Time" is just 4 minutes of slow, dreamy electric guitar noodling followed by 20 minutes of silence. I hate these kind of filler tracks, and thankfully it's a mistake the Keys didn't repeat in their next two albums.

There are several songs I didn't mention, but not because they are in any way bad. Indeed, there's not a shoddy number on the album (except the last pseudo-song"). You definitely get your money's worth with these tunes. The Black Keys are definitely one of the most significant recent music finds for this die-hard blues and classic rock fan. I thought they didn't make music like this any more. I'm glad I was wrong.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Debut, May 29, 2003
By 
Paul Boyer (Heart of Darkness) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Big Come Up (Audio CD)
Words cannot express how great this disc is or how great The Black Keys are. The Big Come Up is rooted firmly in the hypnotic North Missippi hill country blues brought to attention by RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. This disc is proof positive that blues music, REAL blues music, knows no color or geography. It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from, If you get it...YOU GET IT!!!!!!!!!! Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney HAVE IT. The playing, and more importantly, feeling are 100% genuine. Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach doesn't play many solos and isn't concerned with technical brilliance or how fast he can play or how many scales he knows. He doesn't consider himself 'the midpoint between Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix' (as one popular blues wanker once stated). Real blues musicians know style, "THEIR" style, is more important than mindless aping and idol worship. Dan's style echoes many great bluesmen but comes out all HIS. I can think of no greater compliment to pay a blues artist. Drummer Patrick Carney concentrates on rythmic FORCE. At one time, that's how blues players ACTUALLY played. No kidding.
To sum up: Buy this album and thank your lucky stars that bands like The Black Keys are out there doing it the way it should be done
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Assuredly Brilliant Debut, keeping the blues spirit alive, April 5, 2004
This review is from: The Big Come Up (Audio CD)
The Black keys are a two piece outfit that not only take inspiration from Blues artists such as `R.L Burnside', `Howlin Wolf', and the rock stylisation of `Hendrix' & a little bit of funk, they've created a deceptively powerful album that deserves a truly wider audience. Dan Auerbach (guitar) is something of a revelation, coaxing huge bursts of Southern Blues Guitar groove that takes in elements of Funk, soul and more importantly Garage-rock, but undoubtedly it's mainstay is tightly woven blues that remain authentic, but by having a handle on these other genres (Funk, Soul...etc) they avoid repetition and Blues clichés, and stand out as individual artists in their own right. If you liked the `White Stripes' (yes, I know virtually every reviewer here has mentioned them), then think of this a grittier, more authentic integration of Blues into their two piece sound, and thus maybe not as immediate accessible as the White Stripes. If anything it's in some ways closer to "The John Spencer Blues Explosion's" more groove laden moments. But either way this is a superbly executed album that feels way more competent than any short sighted `White Stripes' comparisons, and if you like your Blues passionate, Energetic, Fiery, Smart and above all organic, the Black Keys have delivered an album that's going to be hard to beat.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your Listening To The Big Come Up, September 6, 2004
This review is from: The Big Come Up (Audio CD)
The Big Come Up is it. The Keys' first LP, and some say their best. They combine garage rock and hardcore blues for a sound that just resonates with ache. With absolutely no image, the Black Keys, obviously not doing it for the money, just play all of themselves into the music that we hear, and there isn't one single song on this album that doesn't show it. Words can't even describe the feeling that goes over me when I hear this music. I fall into another dimension, float away from my suburban youth self, and fall into bluesy-rock. I had this album in my CD player for more than a month and couldn't stop listening to it. (I bought several albums that month that didn't recieve very much playtime.) The Keys just have this effect on you. This is a must have for anyone who listens to... well, music. If you don't own it already, I would probably give you the money right out of my wallet so you could buy it. It's just that good. (And try to get any other rock duos out of your head. The Black Keys have absolutely nothing to do with them. They don't look like them. They don't sound like them. Why? Because they are The Black Keys.)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent debut from really great band!, February 28, 2005
By 
Campbell Roark "tri-zeta" (from under the floorboards and through the woods...) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Big Come Up (Audio CD)
OK, I'm biased. I dig the hell out of this group and bemoan the fact I live in coastal carolina, as I'll probably never get the chance to see them play live. This was the first thing I picked up by them and I ain't looked back! These dudes got the blues! Yeah! As far as these kindsa things go- what you're lookin at here: it leans on the bluesy side of things.

Compared to their later CDs (they're averaging about one per year and they just get better n better!), the sound on this is pretty straightforward and untinkered with- the fairly lo-fi style of production and recording really suits them nice. Compared to their 2nd release, the guitar has less chunky distortion, and more squawky clean tone, well-controlled. The post-production isn't as deep as later stuff. More skeletal sound. Now then, if you're a hardcore blues aficionado, you may wonder what the fuss is all about. This isn't Live on Maxwell Street, nor is it J.B. Hutto. It's pretty much invigorated, stripped down blues rock, done damn well. More precision, less chaos. Not 5 stars, but definitely 4. Each song sounds distinctive, which makes this standout against a lot of other recent dirty-blues/garage-rock fare.

Some of the reviewers have complained about the obvious recycling of blues/early rock motifs... the riffs and lyrical content. Samples: "you ain't gonna run. me down. anymore..." "try to make you mine..." "I'll be your man..." "won't you come around..." "Hey darlin, let's do the rump..." "Hey, hey, hey, I still love you so..." "Hey, can't you see me cryin..." ...Lot's of hey this and hey that. So they ain't reinventing the wheel. Well, to my mind, that's kind of the point. I wasn't expecting these guys to be Mallarme or Rimbaud. The lyrics aren't there to change your perspective on life, just to cling to and reinforce the over-all blues aesthetic. Dan Auerbach does some of the best white boy blues singin and hollerin I've heard in some time. The man's got some great mimetic skill. Patrick Carney locks into place and does what good backup men always do- provide an environment for the leader to showcase his abilities. These guys really click. The solos are skeletal and effusive, again- I like 'em! Not so blazing out of control, as tight and angular. So, don't expect Jimi or Stevie Ray or Albert King to be channeled.

Stand out Tracks: "The Breaks" (great tune, great lick, just kills me every time). "Them Eyes" (possibly my fave: the most unabashedly rock n roll, the bridge chords are a simple but timeless garage-rock assault- the song then segues into some even-paced and soulful crooning wit a change of mic. LOVE this one!!). "Heavy Soul" (it's got that opening riff that damn near everyone and their grandma has copped a bit, from Hound Dog Taylor to The White Stripes) "I'll Be Your Man" (sounds very haunted and CCR ((at least to these ears))- that's a good thing, it's got that early Fogerty swagger, that marching beat, "Yearnin" also rocks a similar approach)

My only beef: Not enough tracks. And they're too short. That's actually probably a good thing. and "240 Years" stops about 1.5 minutes into it and has 20+ minutes of dead silence before some stuff comes back in.

Great all-purpose music. Recommended! For writing, dish-washing, lifting, running, long-distance driving, anything really!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!!!, October 4, 2002
This review is from: The Big Come Up (Audio CD)
This is what rock and roll is all about. 2 kids in a basement, bang'n away, .... All great american music is african-american based, and this is no exception. The roots show, but they don't get tangled up in them. These aren't wannabes or pretenders. They hear the same thing that Elvis, Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix heard; the raw passion of the blues, and they use it to construct a language that we haven't heard in 40 years: rock and roll. They don't need no ... strings, no ... horns and no slight of hand. All they need is great guitar, drums and soul. ....
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Won't leave CD player, July 22, 2002
By 
Cassie Winters (New York City, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Big Come Up (Audio CD)
Ok seriously folks, friends of mine turned me onto this stuff and this CD (The Big Come Up) is the greatest thing I've heard yet! I can't tell you what an unbelievable mix of blues/garage rock it is, even if you're not totally into that genre-I promise you WILL NOT be disappointed. This never leaves my cd player and my friends all play this at their parties (at NYU). The guitar and drumming beats are so raw and rough which is fantastic and is a great and perfect complement to Dan's smooth strong voice. Play this cd from beginning to end and you'll swear by it. The song "I'll Be Your Man" has Dan swooning you over making you believe he is singing right to you, but fret not you rockers because "The Breaks" will move you and groove you. These two hip guys know how to do things right and I can't wait for them to come to NYC!! Hear they are awesome live and I'm sure it helps that they are as attractive as they are talented! I say goodbye to MTV ... and hello to The Black Keys!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the White Stripes? NO ... the BLACK KEYS, April 14, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Big Come Up (Audio CD)
If you're at all remotely a fan of the White Stripes, you will absolutely LOVE the Black Keys. This band puts the "Rock" back in rock n roll. Set amidst this resurgence of garage rock, the Black Keys sets themselves apart by bringing a tight blues edge to their music. Even more so, this duo of guitar and drums create an enormous sound that would blow any 4 to 5 piece rock band clearly out of the water.
I'm not much of a White Stripes fan, the percussion is loose and over simplified, I find the guitar and melody to be a bit hollow. So, if you're at all mildly impressed with the White Stripes, but not completely convinced, give the Black Keys a "go" and they'll win you over full-force.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars buy, don't burn, this CD, March 31, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Big Come Up (Audio CD)
this is by far the best album I've heard in some time, I'm talking four or five years. As has already been written, every song is fantastic, not one disappointment. I got a chance to see them live a few days ago and I would recommend you sell your kidneys if need be to see them. They looked beat down from the road and I had my concerns about their enthusiasm. However, from the first guitar licks, they kicked... Hands down the best show I've seen in my 30 years on this earth. what I can't fathom is this on-going comparison to the white stripes. The only similarity is the number of people in the band. Check this album out and definitely buy the follow-up, "Thickfreakness" upon its arrival on April 8th.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, April 10, 2003
By 
Adam Ellis (Rittman, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Big Come Up (Audio CD)
There is so much to like about this album. It is certainly very different from everything else out there, yet it is still highly accessible. The tracks are quite catchy - all of my friends loved the album the first time they heard it. My favorite trait, though, is the Lo-fi imperfection of their sound. So much of what is out there is so severely polished by the time it hits the CD that the "life" of the music is filtered out. This album is different. It is raw, it is unpolished, and it is beautiful.
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The Big Come Up
The Big Come Up by The Black Keys (Audio CD - 2002)
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