The Black Keys: Dan Auerbach (vocals, guitar); Gabe Fulvimar (Moog synthesizer, keyboards); Patrick Carney (drums).
Recorded Synth Etiquette Analog Sound, Akron, Ohio between January and February 2002.
Personnel: Dan Auerbach (vocals, guitar); Patrick Carney (drums).
Recording information: Synth Etiquette Analog Sound, Akron, OH (01/2002-02/2002).
Photographer: Michael Carney .
On paper, two Ohio white guys forming a drum-and-guitar blues duo seemed like the last thing the world needed in 2002. Fortunately, the guys revisiting the tried and true were guitarist-vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney a.k.a. the Black Keys. With the former's blown-cone distortion and slinky riffs, and the latter's positively Bonham-esque way of inhabiting each change with a loose power, they smacked judgment out of one's brain before anyone could call it cliche. Taking cues from Fat Possum-centric blues legends like Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside (both covered here on the first two tracks) and garage fetishists like Billy Childish and Jack White alike, the Akron duo arrived with swagger on these 13 tracks. Tackling covers traditional (like Sleepy John Estes's "Leavin' Trunk") and non (the Beatles's "She Said, She Said") and their own workouts (the aptly titled "Heavy Soul"), THE BIG COME UP wins on the strength of Auerbach's ravagedly expressive vocals--which match the egdes in his guitar tone crag for crag.
Rolling Stone (10/02, p.69) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...A righteous choice for rock debut of the year..."
Spin (p.116) - "This Ohio duo indulges in Gories-style minimalism, with a heavier dose of the blues."
Magnet (10/02, p.80) - "...A genuine by-product of their situation....[The band has] an intimate understanding and reverential respect for the music..."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/03, p.75) - Ranked #25 in Mojo's "Best Albums of 2002"
The Black Keys' debut "The Big Come Up" introduces the bands as a down and dirty blues outfit, taking those old sounds, up-ing the fuzz and cranking out some rough and ready numbers. Dan has a voice like someone twice his age and Pat thumps those skins like his life depends on it. Bands like The Black Keys are important as they don't just rip off older bands in order to cash in on some kind of revival. These guys do it their own way and as a result offer up something new that demands listening.
If you are a fan of the Black Keys, definitely check out this album, it is just as wicked as their other two. You can’t help but going back and listening to “Ill Be Your Man”, perhaps being their best song both new or old. “She Said, She Said” is my other favourite track on this album. The only annoyance to damper this otherwise flawless album is the 23 minute closer, which is actually a two minute song followed by nothing, and then one minute of an instrumental jam. Nevertheless a very cool album.
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