Brothers - The Black Keys

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 90
    Everything fits in place to up the game of something else, and no part of these finely made blues and soul creations gets a pass on pulling its weight. That’s just how it works for Brothers.
  2. The band continues to find new ways to expand within rigid, self-imposed parameters. Although the album veers away from the spaced-out psychedelia of 2007’s Attack & Release, it retains much of that album’s slickness.
  3. The Black Keys are clearly determined not to get stuck in any such rut, with ‘Brothers’ marking the midway point between the garage-rock stylings of their first few albums and the hip-hop influence of last year’s Blackroc side-project album.
  4. Brimful of air guitar moments and other guilty pleasures, Brothers is pleasingly diverse and diverting, with barely a duff track.
  5. Brothers doesn’t break new ground for the band, but it continues to affirm the band’s soul, further demonstrating the unlimited power of blues music.
  6. Brothers goes straight into the chase for the finest traditional rock album of the year so far, and with a slight trim to its 15-strong run would be a front runner.
  7. More Waitrose advert than classic Wrigley’s; the Black Keys’ raw power’s been polished. Some things are meant to stay rough around the edges.
  8. The problem is the songs. Auerbach can sing with feeling (see the cover of Jerry Butler’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which features vocals reminiscent of vintage Todd Rundgren), but his lyrics are so banal they hardly seem worth the trouble.
  9. The no-bullshit album cover might be the cheekiest thing about delightfully straight-forward Brothers.
  10. When it's all said and done, the 15-track set runs almost an hour long, causing one to think that the Keys might have done the best material here a disservice by shoving so much onto one album when they could've easily saved some up for their next release.
  11. Entirely produced by the Black Keys (except for the Danger Mouse-helmed song "Tighten Up"), the pair's latest album, Brothers, lures with its spooky throwback sound, preternatural grooves and dark bluesy jams.
  12. Brothers is a rock and roll takeover, as The Black Keys flex their muscles and make their presence known towards all imitators. The variety between tempos, melodies, and genres will keep you coming back to this record.
  13. That’s the great thing about the Black Keys in general and Brothers in particular: the past and present intermingle so thoroughly that they blur, yet there’s no affect, just three hundred pounds of joy.
  14. An album that works as both a blisteringly smart genre study that combines classic and contemporary perspectives on blues, soul, and R&B and as just one hell of a rock record, Brothers reaffirms that the Black Keys belong in any serious conversation about America's finest bands.
  15. But Brothers, recorded largely in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with little outside help, has a higher ratio of compelling songs and distress [than 2008's Attack & Release].
  16. Brothers is the least stuffy record The Black Keys has put out, and it's by far their strongest.
  17. Brothers is a woozy, murky album, fat as a tick, and riled up like a kicked hornets' nest. Whatever growing pains they've gone through as a pair has been worth it; Brothers hits harder than either of their solo albums.
  18. Brothers marks for perhaps the first time in their career that the Black Keys may have opened the door on a new chapter, one that revolves more around the band’s refined songwriting, monster hooks, and growing grab bag of influences than on any one classic sound.
  19. Yep, there's plenty of life here, but interest wavers when howling barroom guitar-note after howling barroom guitar-note wafts to the back of your brain.
  20. Brothers excels with its ballads, notably the 1960s pop swoon of "The Only One" and "Unknown Brother," while the Philly soul of Jerry Butler's "Never Gonna Give You Up" beckons for white suits and synchronized moves.
  21. Six albums in, the Akron, Ohio, duo's backwoods-Zeppelin shtick remains paramount, but on Brothers, there's a new kind of shrewdness, too: real songwriting, and real hooks, beneath all that mondo riffage.
  22. Whether or not you love their music, Brothers represents a champion sound for the duo, one that covers all of their best strengths onto a terrific album; you can’t ask for a better present than that.
  23. Brothers, meanwhile, proves that the Keys can still put a few more miles on their well-driven blues machine, regardless of what direction their non-Keys work takes them.
  24. Much like the Black Keys themselves, this is not an all-time classic for the ages, but it’s very good. Most bands don’t get around to pulling that off, and still fewer do it on their sixth full-length album.
  25. Brothers finds the Black Keys digging their own space, one that needn’t be geographically defined.
  26. Brothers is actively engaged in exploring how to make beloved old sounds relevant to now, and the result is that even classic Black Keys howlers like “Black Mud” and “Ten Cent Pistol” come off more vital in the new context.
  27. Brothers offers a key breakout candidate in the Danger Mouse-produced "Tighten Up," which swings like a tasty update of garagey burn mixed with R&B yearn. For most, however, the solid Brothers as a whole will be the main attraction. [Spring 2010, p.62]
  28. 80
    The old stomp is still here, but Alabama has stoked The Black Keys' dark side. [June 2010, p. 93]
  29. 80
    Brothers is really all about The Black Keys; swaggering journey from sub-White Stripes curio to one of the best rock'n'roll bands on the planet. [Jun 2010, p.81]
  30. Fans will debate stand-outs but Brothers will shiver the spine of anyone in love with unsanitised rock'n'roll. [Jun 2010, p.128]
  31. 78
    The aptly titled Brothers isn't just another Black Keys album; it's the musical product of a cohesive symbiotic partnership. [Spring/Summer 2010, p.103]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 176 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Aug 21, 2010
    An album that find the band coming back home should be the subtitle. Gone is the experimental and soul beaten pressure to sound like someone that is destitute. Must listen tracks, Next Girl (Gangstarr tribute?) , Tighten Up, She's Long Gone, Ten Cent Pistol and Sinister Kid.

    If you haven't seen this band live then make an appointment and cancel anything else.
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 28, 2011
    This album proves that The Black Keys are the best band in the world. Each one of their albums is unique and this album is one of their best yet. Every single song is a knockout. If you like music, this is an absolute must listen Full Review »
  3. Apr 21, 2011
    This album just plain rocks. A unique mix of deep-south blues mixed with sexy pop-rock musical influences creates a sound that you can't help but tap your feet to. Listening perfection. Full Review »