This record is more straight ahead rock and roll - raw, driving, and back to basics," says auerbach. as carney has put it, the black keys 'respect the past while being in the present,' and that formula has made them sound like nothing less than the future of rock and roll. while the largely self-produced 'brothers', recorded at the famed muscle shoals studio in alabama, had a more soul and blues-oriented sound, 'el camino' often recalls the blitzkrieg-paced british-style rock of the 1960s and 70s, post-beatles and pre-punk: artists like t-rex, the sweet, and gary glitter, along with the heavier swing of such bands as led zeppelin and black sabbath. the references are there, but the sound is very much contemporary and utterly their own, equally informed by the black keys' passion for hip hop and r&b and bolstered by the atmospheric production approach of danger mouse (aka brian burton), who was behind the boards for 2008's 'attack and release' and collaborated with them on the funky 'tighten up' for 'brothers'. as auerbach notes, "brian understands all the different kinds of music we're into. he's got really great ideas about melody and song structure. for him it's all about the song." also rejoining them is consistently innovative mixing engineer tchad blake, who auerbach calls 'a genius with audio, a complete wizard.' 'el camino' arrives just in time to serve as the ideal holiday gift for the black keys' rapidly growing fan base. it came together quickly in an unfettered burst of creativity by the hard-charging pair. they recorded these 11 tracks between tour dates for 'brothers' at auerbach's new easy eye studio in nashville, where he and carney have now relocated after years of working in their native akron, ohio. in a time of global austerity, the black keys work simply and efficiently, with a minimum of tools and a wealth of ideas, to produce the richest, fattest, coolest music around. upon the release of 'brothers' last year, britain's uncut magazine called them "one of the best rock'n'roll bands on the planet," and 'el camino', confirms that.