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Alternative & Indie - Released January 29, 2008 | Alive Records

As minimal two-man blues-rock bands go, this has to be near the top of the heap. The problem with minimal two-man blues-rock outfits (and there have been more of them than you think) is that they're, well, usually too minimal, with thin garage sound and a shortage of variety. The Black Keys' sound, impressively, is not too thin (though it is garage-ish), and there's enough deft incorporation of funk, soul, and hard rock into the harsh juke joint-ish core to avoid monotony. Most importantly, Dan Auerbach has a genuinely fine, powerful blues voice, sometimes approximating a white, slightly smoother Howlin' Wolf (particularly on the opener, "Busted"). Auerbach's a good guitarist, too, conjuring suitably harsh and busy (and sometimes heavily reverbed) riffs out of what sounds like a cheap but effectively harsh amp. Patrick Carney's drums might be the cruder component of this two-man band, but they keep the sound earthy without sounding sloppily punkish for the hell of it, as too many such groups searching for the blues-punk fusion do. The very occasional insertion of hip-hop snippets seems neither here nor there, and the cover of the Beatles' "She Said, She Said" seems like an odd choice. But overall it's quite cool raunchy electric blues with more vigor and imagination than similarly raw, elderly Southern juke joint artists who came into vogue starting in the 1990s. And it's way fresher than the standard bar band blues-rockers with slicker execution and more reverence for blues clichés. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 29, 2008 | Alive Records

Like most such things, this four-track CD single is mostly of use to collectors and die-hard fans, as the material is not up to the standard of the Black Keys' albums. The title track is one of their less memorable efforts, clunking along in a scuzzy Howlin' Wolf punk groove that doesn't go much of anywhere. Also on board is an alternate version of a song from their first album, "Heavy Soul," and covers of the Stooges' "No Fun" and Richard Berry's "Have Love Will Travel," though the latter seems based on the Sonics' cover of the tune, not the original. Those two covers are the best half of the single, the band turning "No Fun" in particular into more of a gritty blues groove. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 16, 2019 | Wayfarer

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Alternative & Indie - To be released November 5, 2021 | Nonesuch

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The Black Keys in the magazine