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Brothers

4.5 out of 5 stars 518 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 18, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

The maturation of the Black Keys as record makers and performers has been both subtle and startling. With their 2008 Nonesuch release 'Attack & Release' - the fifth album of their eight-year career which doubled the sales of their previous album and Nonesuch debut 'Magic Potion' - guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney illustrated the durability of their few-frills sound, a mysterious and heavy brew of seventies-vintage rock, classic R&B and timeless, downhearted blues. Producer and pal Danger Mouse, their first outside collaborator, didn't try to reinvent their sound but further isolated its essence with the help of a few carefully chosen guest players and some retro-modern electronic gear. It didn't need to get slicker to get better, or, as the Boston Globe put it, ''Attack & Release' proves that cleaning up the boys still won't stop them from tracking mud all over the house.'

Danger Mouse returned to co-produce 'Tighten Up' on 'Brothers,' but for the most part, the duo was on its own, spending ten days at the legendary Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama and coming up with the an even more intensely focused, deeply soulful set that includes a cover of Jerry Butler's 'Never Gonna Give You Up.' The performances are inventive and impassioned: Auerbach extends his vocal range to falsetto on the lead-off track 'Everlasting Light' and 'The Only One'; 'Howlin' For You' opens with a Gary Glitter-style drum riff and the chorus practically invites singing along. The tunes offer a surprising amount of lyrical candor and more than a little dark humor; the grooves alternate between ballsy swagger and bluesy rumination. The album reflects where Auerbach and Carney have been lately, most recently collaborating with a who's who of New York City MC's, including RZA, Q Tip, Mos Def and Raekwon on the 2009 BlakRoc super-session organized by hip-hop impresario and Black Keys fan Damon Dash. They've also pursued projects on their own, Auerbach with his solo 'Keep It Hid' album and tour, Carney with his band Drummer and its debut disc, 'Feels Good Together.' Their maturation didn't happen just in the studio, though. Carney admits, 'Dan and I grew up a lot as individuals and musicians prior to making this album. Our relationship was tested in many ways but at the end of the day, we're brothers, and I think these songs reflect that.'

'Brothers' was primarily cut in Muscle Shoals, a setting that turned out to have more in common with the Akron, Ohio factories where the Black Keys used to record. The place was desolate, the town depressed, so once again the duo slipped into a world all its own. They did additional recording at Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound System in Akron and The Bunker in Brooklyn. The album was mixed by engineer Tchad Blake, a veteran of sessions with Los Lobos, Pearl Jam and Peter Gabriel. Says Carney, 'The way he approaches mixing is the same way we approach making music. Respecting the past while being in the present.'
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Digital Booklet: Brothers
Digital Booklet: Brothers
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 18, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B003AO1SVS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (518 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,228 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tracey Axnick on March 19, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I gotta be honest. I'm 43. I'm a mom to two teenagers. I work full time.... I'm TIRED. Not a LOT makes me feel like I'm 19 again. But dang y'all - this album is un-frikkin-believable. These boys make music that is solid, tight, and AMAZING. I haven't been THIS excited about an album (see, there I go, dating myself by using words like "album") since "Icky Thump".

Go out and get yourself a copy of "Brothers". (Heck, get 2 copies and give one away. Share the love.)
Gives me HOPE for the American music scene when we have incredible young musicians like The Black Keys at the helm.

Rock on, boys...
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Format: Audio CD
This album is NOT like Thickfreakness or any of the other early Black keys albums. It is NOT full of raw, high energy, guitar driven songs. "Brothers" is a more complex and layered album. Bass and drums drive most of the songs and the guitars seem to be pushed to the background along with keys to fill the songs out. This makes it sound mellow and that is why I didn't care for it when I first heard it. None of the songs stand out or are as heavy as "Your touch" or "10 a.m. automatic". However, I continued to listen to it and I started to like it more and more. It took a while to grow on me, kind of like a Wilco or Radiohead album. You hear something different each time and start to like songs different reasons, not just because they have a great riff.
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Format: Audio CD
I got into the music of Blues Rock duo The Black Keys via their Danger Mouse-produced album "Attack & release". I also loved their Hip Hop collaborative venture Blakroc.

This time around, Danger Mouse produced just one track, the groovy organ-sprinkled tempo-shifting "Tighten up". Everything else was produced by the pair.

I love the sonic diversity among the songs, from the fuzzy falsetto-sung "Everlasting light", the funky Blues "Next girl" (very White Stripes), the psychedelic pair of "She's long gone" and falsetto-sung "The only one", the quivering guitar instrumental "Black mud", the absolutely beautiful harpsichord ballad "Too afraid to love you", the simmering ballad "I'm not the one", and the Sixties Soul-channeling pair of "Unknown brother" and "Never give you up" (the latter a Jerry Butler cover).

What an absolutely fabulous album this is. To those that think there is hardly any good music being made these days, you just need to switch off from top 40 radio and TV and discover gems like this.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I suppose there are only so many ways you can iterate blues progressions and drums and keep it from becoming stale, something the Black Keys seemed to have realized awhile ago. As you go through the albums of the Black Keys you can hear a material maturation of both the music and the lyrics. Understandably, at some point the Black Keys must have gotten bored with using the same old formula, beginning with a few tracks here and there and progressing with Attack & Release and now Brothers.

That being said, there are still some very good blues based tracks on this album both stripped down and some with added substance and depth. I commend the Black Keys for doing what a lot of blues purists (both musicians and fans) refuse to do, step outside of their sandbox and explore elsewhere. The soul of the Black Keys is still evident in this album, but they have strayed away from their roots which will upset some, but is reasonable to me. I don't feel it's a ploy to gain more mainstream recognition, but of course I could be wrong. Either way I'm happy this talented tandem is getting a little attention.

"Sinister Kid," "Ten Cent Pistol," "She's Long Gone," and "Howlin' for You," are my favorites. Rubber Factory will likely always remain my favorite Black Keys album, but Brothers is a worthy installment to the Black Keys' catalog. I would have liked to have given this album 3.5 stars, but I suppose Amazon wants you to man up and make a decision. After listening to "These Days" and "The Go Getter" again I made my choice. Three stars.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
So......I had been hearing about The Black Keys quite a bit. This album kept popping up on best of 2010 lists. I saw them on Saturday Night Live and was intrigued. Saw a video from the album and again my interest was ignited. Finally, I took the plunge and bought the album. At first I really did not get what the hype was about. Yea, some of it was ok, but overall it really did not do much for me. But.......damn, if I did not keep pulling the thing out once every two weeks or so to give it another shot. Over time the album really started to grow on me. Finally after many listens I think I do get what these guys are all about and I am really enjoying the music on this disc. I do not have any of the band's earlier works, so this is my first exposure to them. It is all pretty basic blues progressions with some decent guitar and keyboard work thrown in here and there. The Keys cover similar territory to earlier bands like The White Stripes (whom I never cared for) and blues artists like Cedric Burnside and Lightning Malcolm (another band that does not do that much for me). The Black Keys seem to present something different, however, though it is difficult for me to put my finger on exactly what it is. Maybe it is the songwriting that as previously mentioned in this review seems to grow on the listener over time. Songs like "Next Girl", "Black Mud", "The Only One", "Ten Cent Pistol" "I'm Not The One", and "Unknown Brother" all have that intangible it factor that make this a worthwhile listen. The singles "Tighten Up" and "Howlin For You" have both received a lot of airplay and these guys appear to be on their way to a much larger audience. I am still not sure why I like this album, but it is different and has grown on me like a fungus.
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