By Luis Castilla
The Black Keys are back after a five year hiatus with their new single, “Lo/Hi,” but it’s boring, underwhelming and wasn’t worth the wait.
This one-track single does little to justify the two-piece band’s reputation as a modern-rock giant.
The Black Keys hadn’t released anything since their last album, “Turn Blue,” back in 2014.
After what felt like an eternity, “Lo/Hi” just doesn’t do anything new or interesting.
The opening guitar riff is just a melody played on guitar that goes nowhere and only manages to get the song going, making the track’s instrumentation sound far too bland.
To be fair, most of The Black Keys’ songs aren’t all that complicated. It was actually the band’s simple, yet exciting guitar riffs on songs like ”I Got Mine” and “Tighten Up” that turned them into the blues-rock legends they are today.
“Lo/Hi,” however, just doesn’t convey the same spirit the band used to have. It also bears a strange similarity to ZZ Top’s “La Grange.”
Dan Auerbach, the band’s frontman and guitar player, has proven himself to be a masterful guitarist on other Keys songs like “Weight of Love,” an almost seven-minute, Pink Floyd-esque track off of “Turn Blue” with some of his most complex guitar work.
Even the lyrics on the track lack substance. In the chorus, Auerbach sings, “You get low like a valley, then high, like a bird in the sky, you get low, cause you’re angry, low high, high, low.”
It’s difficult to tell what Auerbach is trying to say, but not because the lyrics are too complicated, they’re just too simple to get any real meaning out of them.
Auerbach has released other music outside of The Black Keys as a solo artist and with his side-project, The Arcs, both producing music that far surpasses “Lo/Hi.”
The Keys’ drummer, Patrick Carney contributed his drumming to the TV show “BoJack Horseman,” and even that music was more interesting than this new single. The two should have been able to come up with something better than “Lo/Hi.”
It’s obvious that The Black Keys were trying to replicate their old sound, but it just doesn’t come together in the same way as their other albums like “Brothers” or “El Camino.”
“Lo/Hi” is a decent tune, but after five years without getting anything new out of the band, it fails to deliver on fans’ high expectations.
The Black Keys have remained a relevant rock band for this long. If the they want to stay relevant, they have to try something new. It’s not like they haven’t done it before either.
“Turn Blue” saw the band turn to more a psychedelic sound opposed to their classic style. This new single feels like they’re going backwards and trying to relive their glory days.
The Black Keys are a huge rock band in a world where rock is fading into obscurity.
While rap continues to dominate the charts, it’s becoming harder to tell what rock music is. “Lo/Hi” isn’t the song to keep rock’n’roll alive.