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Monday, March 2, 2009

Dan Auerbach

Keep It Hid (Nonesuch)

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Heartache, paranoia and the purest form of analog recordings are saturated into the recent solo debut from Dan Auerbach. Not veering from his sound as a member of The Black Keys, Auerbach passionately connects psychedelia, soul and blues with no digital effects on this 14-track disc recorded in his Akron Analog Studio.

Sophistication is haloed on "Keep It Hid," which sets layers of trenchant, dark lyrics against reticent melodies. This unremorseful, honest emotional release of an artist's "pain in the mind" also communicates conscience and substance. Contoured vocals and ensemble instrumentation-including drums, organs, bass and guitars-are spiked with an un-camouflaged approach, luring listeners like an addict to the high. "Goin' Home" flows without trying too hard. Driving rhythms and callous vocals propel "Street Walkin," and copious riffs amid hallucinogenic, accelerated beats linger on "I Want Some More."

Friends and family join in on several tracks, including Auerbach's uncle, James Quine (first cousin of the late guitar great Robert Quine), Jessica Lea Mayfield and Bob Cesare. With these added musical roots and influences, it's no surprise that this disc successfully seduces the listener without much more than a flirt. Auerbach emanates a refreshing, nonconfrontational vibe. His stated goal of presenting a flowing "traditional yet nontraditional" album, which audibly progresses like movie scenes, has been gracefully achieved.