The Black Keys, "Brothers"

4.5

It takes a tight musical alliance to forge a complete rock sound without full band support. In that sense, singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Pat Carney, who make up the blues-rock duo the Black Keys, are true soul brothers. Entirely produced by the Black Keys (except for the Danger Mouse-helmed song "Tighten Up"), the pair's latest album, "Brothers," lures with its spooky throwback sound, preternatural grooves and dark bluesy jams. The 15-song set opens on a sunny note with the gospel-tinged track "Everlasting Light," which boasts a charming vintage cackle and tuneful verses. The acid-blues follow-up "Next Girl" touches on bitter romance with the sage lyrics, "Well, the look of the cake/It ain't always the taste" and the caustic couplet, "My next girl/She'll be nothing like my ex-girl." "Brothers" bursts with gritty garage soul, resonating with retro grooves like "Tighten Up," creeping with Screamin' Jay Hawkins eeriness on the reverb-driven blues ballad "Ten Cent Pistol" and oozing old school from start to finish. --Connor McKnight