"Let's Rock" is the ninth studio album by American rock duo the Black Keys, released on June 28, 2019, through Easy Eye Sound/Nonesuch Records. The album was produced by the band and is their first album since 2014's Turn Blue.
At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 73, based on 10 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Five years since their last album, the Ohioan duo have gone back to basics. We’re past the subtle inflections and lacquered psychedelia of Turn Blue; Let’s Rock is all about simple hooks and nagging choruses, “an homage”, in the words of drummer Patrick Carney, “to the electric guitar”.
If Brothers, their brawny album from 2010, turned the pair into serious rock contenders, then 2011’s El Camino cemented their reputation. Yet neither can claim to be as fiendishly catchy as Let’s Rock, a record that can scarcely sit still. On opener “Shine a Light”, the riffs are big, the momentum irresistible, with frontman/guitarist Dan Auerbach layering scabrous licks over AC/DC-like chords. Backing singers Leisa Hans and Ashley Wilcoxson add texture to the grooving “Lo/Hi”, while the languid “Sit Around and Miss You” is Stealers Wheels by way of the Deep South. Listen to the melodic harmonies in “Tell Me Lies” and it’s not just the lyrics that’ll remind you of Fleetwood Mac.
The terrible album title – inspired by the last words of a man given the electric chair in Tennessee – is something else to get past. Do so, though, and you’ll be rewarded with a viscerally entertaining album that never lingers for more than four minutes per song. Rock’n’roll isn’t dead: it’s just been sleeping.
Reviewed by Patrick Smith for independent.co.uk.