Dan Auerbach, best known for being one half of one of indie rock’s most invigorating duos, the Black Keys, has made a career out of his thick guitar riffs and blues swagger.
On his first solo release, Keep It Hid, Auerbach tones down the riffage and instead displays a knack for a mixture of melody and country-tinged sleaze that he’d only shown hints of with the ‘Keys.
Of course, without drummer Patrick Carney slamming away at the set and the stomp-heavy garage-blues structure of his main gig, Auerbach’s music loses some of its blunt force. Keep it Hid more than makes up for it in a subtlety not typically found on a Black Keys album.
The title track, for example, displays not only Auerbach’s better-than-expected vocal range, but also a swagger that doesn’t necessarily come from his usual brute style, employing instead a slower beat and sparse guitar.
The album also presents a more varied Auerbach, having him jump from his niche of blues-rock to country-melancholia (“Trouble Weighs a Ton”), barroom pop (“Whispered Words”), and even soft-acoustics (“When the Night Comes”).
Those expecting another Black Keys album will likely be a bit thrown off at first, but Keep It Hid holds a bevy of good whiskeysoaked tunes and some welcome deviation.
-P.J. Decoteau, Staff Writer