Their amazing debut album.
“Rawboned blues duo the Black Keys hail from Akron, Ohio, but a listen to The Big Come Up suggests the Keys may have been raised by Mississippi ridge-runners. While Dan Auerbach’s overdriven ax is powered by the same internal-combustion engine that drove blues legends Junior Kimbrough and Fred McDowell, this is no po-faced retro show. There’s Wu-Tang Clan-schooled funk in drummer Patrick Carney’s fatback beats, and on the cranked-up “Countdown,” Auerbach suppresses a sob with the droll closing couplet, “You stole my heart and damn near drove me mad/I gotta get back home to my mom and dad.” From the truthfully titled “Heavy Soul” to a devolved, choogling cover of the Beatles’ “She Said, She Said,” this is a righteous choice for rock debut of the year. In a world gone White Stripes crazy, save room in your heart and CD wallet for the Black Keys.” – Peter Relic/Rolling Stone
“What frontman Dan Auerbach does is make Leslie West seem like an underrated genius. Moreover, Auerbach has an intriguing vocal delivery: Instead of sounding like a white dude trying to sing like a black guy, he sounds like a white dude trying to sing like some other white dude who’s trying to sing like a black guy. Here again, I’m not sure how this became desirable. Cagily produced by untrained drummer (i.e., former guitar player) Patrick Carney, The Big Come Up can essentially be defined by its four strongest songs: “I’ll Be Your Man” (sort of a pseudo-sexy mid-tempo Otis Redding homage), “The Breaks” (sort of a Boss Hog number, I think), “Leavin’ Trunk” (sort of “Mississippi Queen,” minus the sort of), and a better-than-solid Beatles cover (“She Said, She Said”). So I suppose nobody is ever gonna accuse these rubber city rebels of being overly creative (it doesn’t help that they’ve picked a name for their band that starts with the word “The” and follows with the name of a color). But right now, that’s as irrelevant as the memory of 1979; this is one of the five best records of 2002, and bass players everywhere should continue to grow nervous.” – Chuck Klosterman/The Village Voice
“There is something hugely satisfying about the unfettered moans of a vintage Fender Telecaster. For some solid sonic evidence, look no further than the gutsy 2002 debut of Ohio blues duo, The Black Keys. If you’re not hooked by the time Dan Auerbach finger-picks his way into the whining guitar groove of opener Busted, then the delivery of his sandpaper vocal drawl ably assisted by Patrick Carney’s whiplash drumming and ‘medium fidelity’ production will assure you that, in the US Midwest, they still keep their blues traditionally bottled. And therein lies the key to The Black Keys’ brilliance,the ability to make exciting new tunes sound raw and well-travelled, without falling into lame pastiche or parody. Check out the woozy, melodic leanings of Yearnin’ or the straight-out garage barnstorm of I’ll Be Your Man both tracks successfully fusing valve-humming cool with a contemporary edge that, five years and four LP’s down the line, remain founding cornerstones of The ‘Keys unique and wickedly uncoiled oeuvre.” – Ross Bennett/Mojo
“Where the White Stripes reminded everyone that alt rock could still contain graceful ’60s hooks and prettiness, the Black Keys, with their heroic cover of ‘She Said, She Said,â€š drag the Beatles back to the Cavern.” – Spin Magazine