The Black Keys may have pulled out of playing the Big Day Out earlier this year, but perhaps it has an upside – they’ve got a new album coming out shortly, only 16 months after their breakthrough hit album Brothers. “It’s the fastest we’ve ever played,” singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach says of the record’s songs, which he reckons take their inspiration from The Clash, the Cramps, and old rock’n’roll, garage and rockabilly records.
“The new album doesn’t sound like Brothers. It doesn’t have that open soul feel to it. It’s way more driving and the tempos are really fast.” Although yet to be given a name, the new long player is set for release later this year and was recorded in Auerbach’s Nashville, Tennessee studio with regular production collaborator Danger Mouse, AKA Brian Burton behind the desk twiddling the knobs. Auerbach says of Burton. “He’s got really great ideas about melody and song structure. For him it’s all about the song.”
Auerbach reveals that album opener ‘Lonely Boy’ “one of the first songs we recorded. Almost every song on the record has a foundation of live drums and guitar together in the room. It’s guitar bleeding into the drum mics. It’s pretty raw.” Of another track, “Little Black Submarine” Auerbach reveals: “We recorded it four or five different times in different ways. We would start from scratch and then start over. The version that we ended up with is weird. It starts with just acoustic guitar and vocals and by the end it sounds like Black Sabbath!”
He reckons that the band were looking for a ‘group groove’ saying “I’ve never been into guitar solos. I really like when every instrument in the band is a rhythm instrument. This record has a lot of that going on — guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards all working together as a rhythm instrument. But unlike Brothers, which has more of these slower songs with an open feeling, [the new LP] is definitely fast.” Indeed, Auerbach is a bit concerned over drummer Patrick Carney’s ability to play the songs live. “Pat’s never played drums like this before — he’s never played this fast,” Auerbach says of the skinsman. “He’s definitely worried about being able to play some of these songs live.”