With their well-established brand of blues-rooted rock back in full swing, witness the triumphant return of the duo from Ohio.
It’s been a very long time since The Black Keys last released music (almost five years to be less vague). Lo/Hi will therefore be a huge sigh of relief to fans of the Akron rock band. With a driving rhythm and back-to-basics instrumentation, this riff-filled three minutes is a return to their older style, featuring Dan Auerbach’s archetypal dirty guitar tone and a definite strut that was missing on 2014’s Turn Blue.
Lo/Hi is much closer to 2011’s El Camino and 2010’s Brothers in how it sounds. While I actually liked Turn Blue a lot, there’s no question that this is the style that comes most naturally to The Black Keys. With just guitar, bass, drums and vocals, the instrumentation has been cut back too, and the only notable introduction is the smooth female backing vocals. The slick, piercing guitar solo is a blast from The Black Keys’ past too.
Lo/Hi oozes swagger; able to be calm and collected despite its big, rock riffs and blues lyrics. This is the kind of music you listen to in the summer with the windows down. While it lacks the easy catchiness of Tighten Up and Lonely Boy, and the aura of Little Black Submarines, it’s still a very promising single.
It hasn’t been announced if there will be an album to follow, but it’s been long enough and we need some more of The Black Keys. Keep it coming.