the black keys – the big come up 2002

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.

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