Let's get one thing clear from the start. This is not Brothers. Don't be expecting such an accessible album. If all your love of The Black Keys is based on that album and not their earlier releases, you can skip straight to the last paragraph and make your mind up about whether you'll be purchasing this album.
Now that's out of the way, let's get on with a review the eleven track El Camino. Opener 'Lonely Boy' is the lead single and a great example of what the expect from the album. Heading back to the Wild West of Ohio with more than a touch of the blues, this could easily have come off The Big Come Up if it wasn't for the professional, high quality production. Dan Auerbach's voice is perfect for this type of track
As you delve further into the album, the occasional stand out track pops up. 'Sister' and 'Stop Stop' are both classic Black Keys and slightly poppy. Even on these songs though the blues sound is never far away. 'Hell of a Season' is an absolutely brilliant way to spend 3 minutes 45 seconds of your life. I almost want to write a screenplay right now just so that I can see it translated onto the big screen and feature a scene summing up what happened during my fictional Autumn scored by this very track.
This is a good album. As good as the wonderful Brothers? No. Longer term fans will love this. Completists will want this. I love this. I want this. Brothers just made me love The Black Keys even more than I already did. The key there though is "already did". If you "already did" love them, you'll love this. If you loved Brothers, but didn't really get turned on when you explored their back catalogue, you're probably not going to love this. This is The Black Keys though. This is what they're good at, and why they'll continue to make fantastic music. If I was giving this a mark out of ten for myself, it would be a couple of points higher. For a mark on a digital music magazine read by many though, it can be regarded as nothing more than above average.