Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Keep It Hid

Posted on Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Keep It Hid
Composer: Dan Auerbach
Conductor: Dan Auerbach
Label: Nonesuch
Release Date: 2009-10-14
Rated: NONE
Genre: Recording

After six consistent albums as a driving force behind grunge-blues duo the Black Keys, singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach steps out of the Keys shadow, if only briefly, for his first solo album, Keep It Hid. A powerful songwriter, Auerbach slows the tempo to express an emotionally rich quality masked in most Keys tracks by the high volume and energy of dynamic drummer Patrick Carney. Though at times reminiscent of the Keys, here Auerbach is less aggressive (but still succinct). In the wake of the Keys’ Attack and Release, which took on a noticeable modernity from producer Danger Mouse, the self-produced Keep It Hid exudes a timeless quality (Auerbach has said he rarely listens to music made before 1971). A variety of influences is evident, from psychedelic (“I Want Some More,” “When I Left the Room”) to bluegrass/country (“Trouble Weighs A Ton”) to acoustic lullabies (“When the Night Comes”). Distortion and echo complement wailing guitars and rich, dramatic vocals. Though not necessarily mind-blowing, this is Auerbach’s soulful journey, from disoriented (“Don’t you remember a better place?”) to redeemed (“So long, I’m goin’ home ... ”). The Black Keys will undoubtedly rock on, but with an added depth that comes from knowing what Auerbach is capable of on his own. — Kimberly Johnson

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