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The Black Keys - Dropout Boogie (Album Review)

Thursday, 19 May 2022 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Jim Herrington

The Black Keys’ 11th studio album ‘Dropout Boogie’ picks up where their covers LP ‘Delta Kream’ left off: entrenched in a classic rock ‘n’ roll sound as opposed to the more expressive ‘Turn Blue’ and even ‘El Camino’. Within their portfolio, this means the vibe points firmly towards rekindling the sound of the band's early records ‘Rubber Factory’ and ‘Thickfreakness’.

‘Delta Kream’ was a largely self-indulgent venture as Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach quenched their own thirst for hill country blues, but with ‘Dropout Boogie’ it feels at times like their own creations were laid down during the same sessions.

T. Rex are recalled on the two ‘boogiest’ of these boogies—For The Love Of Money and Burn The Damn Thing Down—and the latter comes together like Marc Bolan and co. mashing up The Beatles’ The Ballad of John and Yoko and The Rolling Stones’ version of It’s All Over Now. 

At just 34 minutes, there’s a lot to fit in. The fact that over the course of such a short period they also manage to sound like numerous other classic rock acts, like The Allman Brothers (Baby I’m Going Home, with its electrifying wigout), The Doobie Brothers (It Ain’t Over, which nods to Long Train Runnin’) and ZZ Top (Your Team Is Looking Good) is quite an achievement.

Billy F Gibbons of ZZ Top actually popped into the Nashville studio at one point, swerving the song that most closely recalls his day job in favour of the excellent, brooding Good Love. Apparently crafted from an improvised jamming session, it’s over too soon and also ends abruptly. That said, it’s the heart of the record.

Slow burner How Long, with its soaring mid-section, immediately follows and comes close to approaching its greatness but in all honesty, it’s likely to remain in the shadows of its predecessor. Opener and lead single Wild Child is another highlight, kicking the album off in a banging rock stance with a cracking guitar solo. Happiness will also please fans yearning for the duo’s dirtier, meatier riffs.

Blues-rock can easily sound cliched so hearing the band dish out a bunch of covers based on their own favourites from the genre was somewhat unexciting. What ‘Dropout Boogie’ underlines is how easily The Black Keys can craft their own blues-rock gems, so why bother covering anything at all when it’s as natural as this?

The Black Keys Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat July 09 2022 - LAS VEGAS Nevada - MGM Grand Garden Arena (USA)
Mon July 11 2022 - SALT LAKE CITY Utah - USANA Amphitheatre (USA)
Wed July 13 2022 - MORRISON Colorado - Red Rocks Amphitheatre (USA)
Fri July 15 2022 - MARYLAND HEIGHTS Missouri - Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre St Louis (USA)
Sat July 16 2022 - NOBLESVILLE Indiana - Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center (USA)
Sun July 17 2022 - TINLEY PARK - Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre Chicago (USA)
Wed July 20 2022 - SARATOGA SPRINGS New York - Saratoga Performing Arts Center (USA)
Fri July 22 2022 - WANTAGH New York - Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater (USA)
Sat July 23 2022 - HOLMDEL New Jersey - PNC Bank Arts Center (USA)
Mon July 25 2022 - COLUMBIA Maryland - Merriweather Post Pavilion (USA)
Wed July 27 2022 - CHARLOTTE North Carolina - PNC Music Pavilion (USA)
Fri July 29 2022 - MANSFIELD Massachusetts - Xfinity Center - MA (USA)
Sat July 30 2022 - CAMDEN New Jersey - Freedom Mortgage Pavilion (USA)
Wed August 24 2022 - WEST PALM BEACH Florida - iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre (USA)
Thu August 25 2022 - TAMPA - MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fair Grounds (USA)
Sat August 27 2022 - ALPHARETTA Georgia - Ameris Bank Amphitheatre (USA)
Sun August 28 2022 - HUNTSVILLE Alabama - Orion Amphitheater (USA)
Tue August 30 2022 - CHARLESTON South Carolina - Credit One Stadium (USA)
Thu September 01 2022 - RALEIGH North Carolina - Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek (USA)
Sat September 03 2022 - CINCINNATI Ohio - Riverbend Music Center (USA)
Tue September 06 2022 - TORONTO Ontario - Budweiser Stage (Canada)
Wed September 07 2022 - CLARKSTON Michigan - Pine Knob Music Theatre (USA)
Fri September 09 2022 - CUYAHOGA FALLS Ohio - Blossom Music Center (USA)
Sun October 02 2022 - SEATTLE Washington - Climate Pledge Arena (USA)
Mon October 03 2022 - VANCOUVER British Columbia - Rogers Arena (Canada)
Wed October 05 2022 - MOUNTAIN VIEW California - Shoreline Amphitheatre - CA (USA)
Sat October 08 2022 - LOS ANGELES California - Kia Forum (USA)
Mon October 10 2022 - PHOENIX Arizona - Ak-Chin Pavilion (USA)
Thu October 13 2022 - ROGERS Arkansas - Walmart AMP (USA)
Sat October 15 2022 - THE WOODLANDS Texas - Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (USA)
Mon October 17 2022 - AUSTIN Texas - Moody Center ATX (USA)
Tue October 18 2022 - DALLAS Texas - Dos Equis Pavilion (USA)

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