“Keep it Hid” by Dan Auerbach Album Review by Matt Arnold
Akron Ohio may not seem like the coolest music city in America. For years the most successful Akron export was none other than the science fiction riddled music of Devo. Yet as of recently Akron has been put back on the map for a completely different type of music. The garage rock duo The Black Keys have been lighting up the charts for the past ten years with their unique, stripped down style of blistering blues rock. The driving force behind The Black Keys is the guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach. While Jack White grabs most of the headlines for the resurgence of blues rock, Auerbach is his dour, lesser known, and arguably cooler counterpart. The difference is White relies heavily on showmanship, while Auerbach lets his music do the talking. His first solo album “Keep it Hid” should, in essence, be called “Keep it Simple”. For years Auerbach has excelled in taking very similar blues riffs and creating entire albums that never begin to sound stagnate. The album “Keep it Hid” starts with the sparse acoustic “Trouble Weighs a Ton” and ends with the Beatles gone Blues “Goin’ Home”. In between the listener is given both the expected, up tempo, Black Keys like garage rock in “Street Walkin’ ” , and the unexpected, softer, more nuanced “When the Night Comes”. The album may sound simple at first, yet Auerbach is able to switch sounds more often than on any of his previous work. While Keys fans may miss the thundering percussion of Patrick Carney, they will no doubt be impressed at the expansion of Auerbach’s sound. This album shows that while Auerbach may have made a crossroads deal in Northeast Ohio, he is far from a one trick pony.