The Black Keys – Little Black Sumbarines

November 29, 2011

The Black Keys sound is so inherently cool, palatable and safe, that they can get away with throwing together three chord riffs and screaming different variations of “Gotta Have That Girl” for a 40 minute album. But on “Little Black Submarines” they don’t just throw the old formula out the window, they give it a big “Fuck you.” Channeling Jack White, the track opens with Auerbach showing more vocal restraint than we’re used to hearing from the guy who is usually belting just to be heard above his patented distorted guitar that’s cranked up to 11. This soft opening works on its own, but the fact that it leaves room for the blow-out-your-headphones breakdown that closes the song is what really makes it a success. And, best of all, this song possesses a darkness and hopelessness that isn’t always part of The Black Keys–a couple tongue-and-cheek guys–repertoire.