Monday, April 20, 2009

Review: 'Keep It Hid' by Dan Auerbach for Tom Magazine

From and


Keep It Hid (Nonesuch/Warner)

Behind a massive red beard hides vocalist and guitarist from the Black Keys, Dan Auerbach, with a new solo album of smooth blues/rock tracks that show he has a few tricks left nestled in his beard.

Possibly due to working with different musicians instead of his usual band, Keep It Hid features many instruments unseen on The Black Keys albums (keyboards, maracas etc.), giving it a unique feeling despite Auerbach’s telltale voice. The swinging, fast-paced, guitar-and-power-vocals-based sound of The Black Keys is replaced with a cleaner, down-tempo sound that serves to accentuate his vocals. The resulting tracks are powerful yet languid, and somehow feel deliberate, as if they’re taking the time to fully develop.

Recorded and written largely by Auerbach, aside from a few collaborative efforts, the record features a few standout tracks. ‘When the Night Comes’ is a soulful and evocative piece that shows the power of Auerbach’s voice as he gently croons, "When the night comes/Don’t be afraid/You’re only dreaming..." In contrast, ‘Mean Monsoon’ is an old-school blues tune with smooth catchy choruses - fit for a 60’s gangster film - where he sings "Put a dollar in the jukebox/But don’t you play our favourite tune".

While Keep It Hid is not a dramatic step away from his work with The Black Keys, Auerbach shows his talent as a solo artist on this record, most likely appeasing Black Keys fans, and hopefully, gaining him some in his own right. Just one listen takes you to a place where life is simple, the music is all blues, and the bars serve milk, if you just close your eyes.

By Anna Angel

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