Monday, February 25, 2013

"Gold On The Ceiling"

Another day, another mash-up. Or in this case, a mishmash of styles that combines just about the best of everything it references. A just-this-side-of-lazy groove, fuzzed guitars and keyboards that sound like a fully-digitized Jack White decided to update the buzz of glam rock, all rounded off with an intro that wouldn't sound entirely out of place on a Black Crowes album.

In fact, there's more than a little Southern rock in there as well. It's an effortless accumulation of the best of everything that can only come from the minds of someone who's sat down and listened to a whole lot of records. Signs of a youth profitably spent, right?

And I like, like, love that Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney look like music nerds. Finally, a band that pushes the music to the front, and has the chops, the appreciation for their antecedents, to let it do the talking. Who cares if the drummer looks like he writes code for a living? He knows from his drums.

I mean, listen to this song! Count off the influences: T Rex, the Sweet, southern rock, even some raga in there, Norman Greenbaum, White Stripes, you name it. And it's all good. All good.

I like the fact that the Black Keys are, at heart, a duo. They're the latest in a long and noble tradition of two friends that just *work* together, without the need for an entourage of expensive sidemen or all the grief of building a four- or five-piece that would implode after two albums. Lean, efficient, and staying true to the vision. If you wanted to convey the merits of this in business terms, you might say they were running a low-cost, high-margin operation selling a unique product that we never knew we needed until we heard it.

The one thing I can't nail down is Dan Auerbach's voice. It reminds me so strongly of another singer from another time. It's been on the tip of my tongue for months and it infuriates me that I, a certified Rock Snob who likes to think he knows a thing or two, can't effortlessly drop in the reference. It's an American MOR voice, I think.

In any case, this just blows me away. I defy you to not shake a hip or two.

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