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164 customer reviews

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Product Description

2003 sophomore album from the acclaimed Alt-Rock/Blues duo.

Akron, Ohio's Black Keys offer crunchy, riff-heavy blues-rock that is remarkably rich and textured, particularly when one considers that they are merely a duo. Continuing in the vein of their 2002 debut, The Big Come Up, this sophomore CD leavens their garage blues with enough innovation to keep things interesting, taking full advantage of Dan Auerbach’s full-throated growl. Particularly appealing are "Hard Row," which lurks somewhere between Cream and punk rock, the strong stomp of "Everywhere I Go," and the irresistible guitar riff that graces "If You See Me." The Black Keys might be covering familiar territory, but they do it so well--and with so much invention--that one is inclined to yield it to them and see what they do with it. --Genevieve Williams
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 8, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Fat Possum (Ryko)
  • ASIN: B00008O31H
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,343 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

217 of 219 people found the following review helpful By D. G. Devin on April 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The Black Keys are two guys from the American mid-west, hard as it to believe that only two people make this thick, rich audio gumbo. They play the blues, post-modern blues with licks of psychedelia and rockabilly, white mid-west blues, punk blues. They write original music, even though you'll swear some of those songs have got to be fifty or sixty years old. Can two white kids from Akron, Ohio play the blues with anything like conviction? Oh, yeah.
Patrick Carney plays drums, and he plays them heavy, the kick-drum thuds into your stomach, the cymbals are muted like they're coated with years of cigarette smoke from greasy clubs and roadhouses. This guy ain't a showoff drummer, he's a hold down the groove until you find yourself breathing in time sort of drummer.
Dan Auerbach plays guitar like he's stringing barbed wire, through an old Ampeg amplifier that is one gig short of meltdown. And he sings like he's done time in Mississippi jails, impossible, this guy is in his early twenties, where did he get the chops to stream that kind of pain through his voice? Can he write a blues lyric? "She want to get out the car, in the middle of the road, her screamin' and hollerin', it's getting mighty old," yup, he can.
This album reeks of cigarette smoke and beer and gasoline fumes, the whole tone reminds me of Exile on Main Street, it's gritty and earthy, three a.m. blues when the band is past caring about the audience and just playing their pain away.
So, The Black Keys, with a guitarist who sounds like he's channeling Elmore James and a drummer who sounds like an idling Chevy 327 with bad lifters are now on Fat Possum records, the real deal. Their music is thick enough to chew, it tips its hat to all the right forefathers(...).
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey D. Wilson on June 5, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album based on a great review it got, and I now think the reviewer undersold it. This is the best album I've heard this year, and I'm not a big blues fan. It's hard to believe that this rich, blues/rock that seems to fill every space is the product of a 2-man band. Dan Auerbach is an amazing guitarist whose low-gear playing more than takes the place of a bassist. His gin-laced voice is the perfect complement to his infectious rhythms. While I can't find a B-side on the album, "Set You Free" and "No Trust" are particularly rocking pieces that will have you singing along wondering who needs 4 guys in a band. And don't expect any "my dog left me"-boo-hoo blues - this is a wall of sound with driving guitar and screaming vocals. Simply put, it is what all blues should be: dangerous and yet grooving. You'll wear out your speakers listening to this, trust me.
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65 of 71 people found the following review helpful By charlie Nelson on August 5, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Whoever said that the Black Keys are like the White Stripes is going on the fact that both have only two members.
The Black Keys are on the Fat Possum record label, one that deals with legendary bluesmen like R.L. Burnside, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Junior Kimbrough, and Solomon Burke. It shows too. The Black Keys play dirty, nitty gritty blues, drawing from all of the aformentioned at Fat Possum. Thickfreakness was recorded in the same manner as any R.L. Burnside; it is very raw and rough around the edges. The Black Keys were going for this sound in their blues because it adds character and a certain element of, "wow, this is bad-...". Basically, it fits the label.
Thickfreakness isn't completely original, some of the songs are covers (including one of Mississippi Fred McDowell's). That doesn't mean it is not a good album--look at the North Mississippi Allstars's record "Shake Hands With Shorty". It won them a Grammy and yet almost every single song was a cover from a bluesman on the Fat Possum label. They took the standard blues and made it their own, something that I believe the Black Keys have done well. The singer/ guitarist has the voice of Warren Haynes and a true mastery of the guitar that the White Stripes simply don't have. The drummer is excellent too.
But now you're saying, "Wait, the White Stripes have blues too". They do. You will hear some of the same Zeppelin-esque sound in both of the bands. The Stripes are built on Zeppelin and punk, but the Keys are built on Fat Possum and Zeppelin. If you like the blues, Thickfreakness is just for you. If you're expecting something a little more punk like the White Stripes, you may be dissapointed. I think that most anyone who has enjoyed listening to the delta blues, Zeppelin, or the Stones should enjoy this album tremendously.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By deepbluereview on April 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
According to one report I read, guitarist Dan Auerbach headed down to Oxford Mississippi to spend a day playing with T-Model Ford and he has been hooked on blues ever since. Auerbach and his drummer Patrick Carney are not your usual Mississippi Hills bluesmen. Both men are young and white and don't give you the impression that they have paid their dues so to speak. But that aside, their brand of Delta blues crosses any racial boundary and is as raw and good as anything else coming from the Hills. "Thickfrealness" is the pairs sophomore release and, if you haven't heard this band, it is will serve as a fine introduction to the Keys. The CD features a nice mix of covers and originals including the late Junior Kimbrough's "Everywhere I Go".
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