Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys is back, with his second solo album since ‘Keep It Hid’ (2009) which received some praise but couldn’t quite match the popularity of his current-band. Since then, Dan’s been heavily producing for some big artists, opened and released this record on his new label Easy Eye Sound, straight from Nashville, Tennessee. We can feel through this album that he’s picked up the “Nashville-sound”, adding a twist of pop as well as acoustic rawness, string and wind instruments which captures a new environment for Dan but doesn’t quite meet the expectations of many.
I hadn’t heard much on the album until now, no press or magazine ads and no expectation as to what I should be expecting. Although we know how influenced in blues/garage rock Dan is through his band The Black Keys, his recent gig as a producer for Cage The Elephant on their album ‘Tell Me I’m Pretty’ (2015) and Lana Del Rey’s ‘Ultraviolence’ (2014) gave me a little idea.
Going through the songs, we start with “Waiting on a Song” is believe it or not, a song about writing a song with a countrified pop sound to it and tangling second guitar licks with intertwine with the pretty straight-forward chord progression. “Malibu Man” does have a delicious mix of a ringing guitar melody, wind and string instruments mixed with some keyboard as well as a hint of xylophone in there, reminiscent of the Black Key’s sound in “Turn Blue” (2014).
“Livin’ in Sin” also has a country-pop rock ring to it, following a similar structure to the opening song, though I have to say I really like the backing-guitar riff in the chorus otherwise not much else strikes me. “Shine on Me” is catchy whilst also being one of the most popular tracks of the record, but that chorus reminds me of my days in Catholic primary school, singing religious hymns that was appropriate for all ages in assembly – although I love the various hinting rock and roll guitar riffs.