Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

The Black Keys – Tighten Up

North American Indie Wednesday – AH-AHHHHHH!…


Alfred Soto: Look — blues riffs!

Anthony Easton: The Black Keys are a tight, thick rock and roll band who only appear sloppy and messy as either an aesthetic or a marketing choice, but I like sloppiness as an aesthetic choice.

Mark Sinker: @dubdobdee “late-night party three streets away: odd incidence of wall angles mean sound bounces right into my bedroom window, v.clear & loud — psychedic soul, early funk, psych — on vinyl, sometimes stopping a record half way through — clunk of needle on vinyl, scrape as lifted off — i kinda want to sleep, but the clotted force of this music is so winning — actually must be a tape cz tapespeed fluctuating insanely — so sound of needle crashing down tape also? weird — very obscure learned music collection! daft music to be lying in bed analysing but i cant stop myself… ” That was four nights ago. Whatever the BKeys are getting right about the music of four decades ago, they’re missing the thing that captivated me on Saturday, when I wanted to sleep and and got all fired up for found musicology instead.

Martin Skidmore: If I had been Danger Mouse, producing this, I’d have taken every trace of them off it. Their blues-rock attempt at reggae is painful to listen to, and DM has never been a person to punch up a rock sound, here providing his customary underpowered job. This lumbers clumsily, with groany vocals and weak, awkward beats. It also has the lamest keyboard break I have heard in a very long time. Rubbish.

Katherine St Asaph: You can just hear the grasping and gasping and straining in vocalist Dan Auerbach’s attempts to sound bluesy. Really, most of the points here come from Danger Mouse, who pulls a lot of the same tricks he did on Martina Topley-Bird’s The Blue God — the guitar stabs, drum shudders and quivery organ could come right off a B-side. They’d sound better there, too, but you take what you get.

Chuck Eddy: Gonna take a wild guess that I might be the only Jukeboxer who still checks out and enjoys current white blues-rock albums (2010 favorites so far: Tim Woods’s The Blues Sessions on Earwig and ex-Rational Scott Morgan’s self-titled on Alive Natural Sounds, with others in the running too if they qualify). So, surprise surprise, I’m really relieved this isn’t the hip-hop move that advance notices of the Keys’ new album portended. The guitar and manly low-register vocal parts are still legitimate post-Cream blooze, in ways Jack White couldn’t imagine. But even though I’ve been fooled into thinking they were a real ’70s rock band over a bar speaker system or two, I still hear something underweight in their sound that most Foghat fans wouldn’t buy. A duo’s a duo, and production from Danger Mouse can’t change that.

Mallory O’Donnell: It takes some serious balls to use “Tighten Up” as a song title, but it takes even seriouser balls to cut a record nowadays in that hoariest of musical genres, white blues-rock. The Keys proceed quite amiably to overwhelm my expectations, although I think they could manage a bit more change-up in the tune without falling into SRV terrain. And I must add that I am slightly disappointed that this isn’t the actual video.

Rebecca Toennessen: TBK are one of those bands that people assume I like, for some reason. I’ve thought: I should check them out. Then never do. However, I realise that I *do* know this song, I’ve heard and enjoyed it on the radio. It kicks off with the kind of lo-fi jangle that grips me right away. It’s not OMG SO AMAZING, but it’s catchy and sung with genuine feeling – which seems sadly lacking these days. I’m sold.

Jonathan Bogart: I’m not sure grafting on an entirely different song was the solution to the circular going-nowhere nature of the original song, but it certainly made me pay attention for the last couple-dozen seconds. Archie Bell & the Drells would not be proud.

4 Responses to “The Black Keys – Tighten Up”

  1. I’m guessing the Bieber lookalike in the screencap isn’t any one of these guys (though that’d explain a lot.)

  2. I wonder if there’s actually an incompatibility between the approach to rhythm that reggae works in, and the approach this kind of blues rock mostly worked in — as in one tending to hang behind the beat for its feel, and the other pushing into the beat, for its excitement? So that mixing them up sounds intrinsically a bit limp, because the two ethics cancel out?

  3. Also the reggae “Tighten Up” is by the Untouchables, which is surely not the same “Tighten Up” as Archie Bell and the Drells’s one…

  4. And neither one of them is this one.