The Black Keys Magic Potion

The Black Keys Magic Potion
Four full-length albums into a career should probably mark the point when most blues rock guitar-and-drum duos start to run out of ideas — or at least start expanding their sound. But for the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, this latest effort shows that their two-man blues explosion still packs a hefty punch. While Carney’s untutored grooves remain the band’s solid foundation, the Keys’ sound has always hinged upon Auerbach’s riffs. The good news is that he has managed to channel his inner Jimmy Page to the greatest extent yet all over this record, making Magic Potion their hardest collection overall since their 2001 debut, The Big Come Up. The experience in the interim is definitely apparent in the songwriting, especially the predominance of feral love songs like "Strange Desire” and "The Flame.” Because of this new twist, the album’s centrepiece is clearly "Modern Times,” an amalgamation of bleak blues themes built around Auerbach’s most monstrous riff. It’s yet another example that the pair’s shared determination to boil their sound down to its primal essence is going according to plan and shows no signs of abating. Magic Potion is not only the best blues album of the year, it may be the best rock album too. (Nonesuch)