Now that’s an intriguing cover. El camino is Spanish for the path or the way which doesn’t seem to fit with the photo of the MPV. It almost says ‘el camion’, which is Spanish for ‘the van’, which is a bit closer. And apparently there was a Chevrolet el camino model in the states years ago which was a sort of sports coupe pickup truck.
Well, anyway, that’s what was going through my head as the album started with the opener ‘Lonely Boy’ which I’d heard and liked on BBC 6 Music before the album was released. It’s a great fast-paced blues pop song and had me eagerly awaiting the album. I’ve been a fan of The Black Keys for quite a while now and they’ve evolved from simple, dirty lo-fi blues to this – their 7th, still a blues album but with much more layering and a much broader range of influencing styles.
It’s still essentially a blues album though – most of the songs are about his girl, lost or otherwise, and a few of the tracks are what you’d call standard blues rock.
Second up is ‘Dead And Gone’, another pacy tune which starts with a lot of backing vocals which is a bit of a feature of the album. ‘Gold On The Ceiling’ is more glam rocky, ‘Little Black Submarine’ is a great blues rock ballad which unfortunately means ‘Money Maker’ seems a little brash in response. ‘Run Right Back’ has a nice wailing riff, ‘Sister’ is a great chugger, ‘Hell Of A Season’ a nice stop-start tune, as is ‘Stop Stop’, the chorus of ‘Nova Baby’ sounds a bit like the black keys do the kaiser chiefs, but the lyrics are less uplifting (“all my precious time, you’ve wasted ’cause you, don’t know what you want”) and finally ‘Mind Eraser’ speaks of “don’t let it be over” to close the album.
It’s over quickly and has you wanting to spin it again straight away. Some of the songs are excellent, a couple aren’t great, but they’re all good. A few times you’re left wishing they’d not finished a song quite so early – some nice ideas could have done with a little more space, but it’s a very good album.
Worth checking this out if you haven’t heard of them yet and I hope I can catch them live somewhere.