Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Black Keys - Rubber Factory

While the first two Black Keys albums were literally home recordings (specifically basement recordings), Rubber Factory, their third, was recorded in an abandoned tire factory. This makes sense because the album actually sounds like urban decay. There is a haunting loneliness to this album, and I didn't like how it made me feel at first, but it grew on me.

One of the other reasons Rubber Factory didn't hit it off with me at first was the fact that this album represents a change in The Black Keys' sound and their approach to music. Sure, they still rock the blues and they always will, but Rubber Factory finds them experimenting with a number of different sounds. There's the creepy monotonous violin on "When the Lights Go Out," the whispy steel guitar on the ballad-ish (another first for The Black Keys) "The Lengths," and the general distance of the entire album. The whole thing sounds like it's playing in another room, even when you're standing right in front of the speakers. This is the blues for ghosts.

Anyway, despite the slight change in direction, there's still plenty of good old fuzzed-out blues on this album just like The Black Keys fried up on their first two albums. Even so, the more I hear this album, the more I hear the death of American industry and the tortured spirits of abandoned the one this album was recorded in.

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