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The Black Keys: Brothers 

What gets me about these two-person bands - the White Stripes, Jucifer, Juanita & the Rabbit - is how big they can sound. And on their new album (the band's sixth), the Black Keys don't just sound big.

click to enlarge cdreview_theblackkeysbrothers.jpg

Nonesuch Records

What gets me about these two-person bands - the White Stripes, Jucifer, Juanita & the Rabbit - is how big they can sound. And on their new album (the band's sixth), the Black Keys don't just sound big. They sound like a goddamn orchestra.

Brothers is a 15-track masterpiece - an album that solidifies Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney's place in modern blues-rock, but one that also shows the band's aptitude in a number of styles. Building on the hot-and-sweaty blues sound that initially impressed critics on Thickfreakness, the Black Keys add more rock, more gospel and some truly impassioned, painful and poetic lyrics here. Brothers is an album full of heart and swagger - one where risky moves (like the harpsichord-driven "Too Afraid to Love You," or Auerbach's falsetto on "Never Give You Up") add emotion and honesty to the duo's sound. It's an album that, like the band's others, echoes and crackles like it was recorded in a basement. And that no-frills style only further proves how much noise these two people can make.

Recommended download: "Sinister Kid"

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