Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Dan Auerbach - Keep It Hid

Released February 10, 2009.

Listen to a few songs here.

I would like to begin by stating that owning this album is obligatory to all Ohioans. Dan Auerbach is a member of the Black Keys, who have done for Ohio music what manufacturing did for the Ohio economy a century ago--except that the Black Keys have not left. This album was recorded in Dan Auerbach's basement studio in Akron, Ohio. And now, like the rubber that once streamed out of that city, the sounds of the Black Keys spread beyond state lines to show the kinds of commodities Ohio has to offer.

The songs on Keep It Hid were mostly written while Dan toured for the Keys. And subsequently, this album isn't much of a departure from their sound. Keep It Hid is instead a deeper venture into the thick melodies found on some of the Black Keys ballads like "The Lengths." Add the sound of a full band, and the stripped rock of the Keys becomes Delta blues.

Keep It Hid is a swampy excursion--with rolling, sweating riffs that stick each song to the next. The full band surprisingly accentuates Auerbach's voice, instead of drawing away from it. Dan shows off more of his vocal range than ever before, by going with a clean vibrato on "When the Night Comes" to the expected muffled rasp found on songs like the title track. The standout on the album is "Whispered Words" which finds Dan singing in a fuller, thicker timbre than ever before. The song (and much of the album) finds Dan in a much more personal tone, giving such revelations as "each and every thing she ever said...tricked me into falling one more time."

And so while this album may not have an entirely discrete sound--most of the songs could easily fit into a Keys album-- it is nevertheless a personal statement. The album was based on lyrics that Dan's father wrote for him to convert into song. And so Dan wrote, as only he knows how, and spoke for Ohio in the process.

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