WHO ARE THEY? Singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, two childhood pals from Akron who started a scrappy garage-blues duo that gradually smoothed out their rough edges with infusions of soul, hip-hop, pop and psychedelia — until they slowly but surely evolved into chart-topping, award-winning arena-rock superstars.
WHAT IS THIS? Their truthfully and tellingly titled ninth studio album, which arrives June 28, five years after the similarly descriptive Turn Blue — and after a lengthy hiatus that saw Auerbach and Carney devoting their time to writing, recording and producing a host of other artists.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A comeback in every sense of the word. True to its name — a line borrowed from a death-row inmate’s final words (which explains both the quote marks around that handle and the electric chair on the album’s cover) — ‘Let’s Rock’ finds the pair toning down the keyboards and guest producers to resurrect the guitar-based attack and beefy grooves of their earlier albums. It isn’t exactly Son of Thickfreakness, but it’s closer than they’ve come for ages.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Tighten Up, Straighten Up and Crank Up the Guitars.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On infinite repeat at a lake party, while you and your friends play air guitar.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Confident, rejuvenated, relaxed, lean, muscular, soulful, understated, dependable, satisfying, tasteful.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Shine a Light and Eagle Birds kick off the proceedings with a deft balance of craggy, fuzzed-out riffs and soulful vocal melodies; Lo/Hi and Walk Across the Water work the bluesier side of the street; Tell Me Lies and Sit Around and Miss You pay homage to the ’70s pop-rock of Fleetwood Mac and Gerry Rafferty; Go chugs along with the urgency of its title; Fire Walk With Me closes the curtain with a spiky riff and a snappy beat.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘This is more like it.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? Plenty. It’s a solidly enjoyable summertime album.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A VACATION, WHAT KIND OF VACATION WOULD IT BE? A nostalgic, casual stroll through your old neighbourhood with your best friend.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? Hey, they lived up to their side of the bargain.