As one half of The Black Keys Dan Auerbach has enjoyed worldwide success over the last few years thanks to the bands two biggest albums Brothers and El Camino. Songs like ‘Tighten Up’, ‘Gold On The Ceiling’ and ‘Lonely Boy’ ensured that the band were heard through T.V ads, radios and indie discos consistently throughout the last decade. Like a lot of other two pieces – The White Stripes, We Cut Corners – power is The Black Keys’ trademark. Theirs is a deep, dark, swampy blues Auerbach’s guitar playing is as much a part of it as his voice, he pedals his vast array of sonic colours with…well he does it with a vast array of pedals as it happens.
The bulk of that audio trickery has been stripped away, fleshed out instead with a full country-leaning, more varied accompaniment. He’s immensely talented as a singer, songwriter and guitarist and Waiting On A Song is hung on that trinity. The rough edges and minor chords that perforate The Black Keys material are smoothed out and switched to joyous major chords. Subtle, cottony, country basslines are dabbed all over this record coupled with swirling organs giving it a soft warmth throughout.
There’s also a playfulness to Waiting On A Song that you don’t hear in Auerbach’s day job. ‘Livin’ in Sin’ is decorated with a Dick Dale type surf solo while ‘Shine On Me’ is the optimistic cousin of Eddie Cochrane’s ‘Summertime Blues’. The Stacks volt is raided for the uplifting horns that elevate ‘Malibu Man’ with Harvest period Neil Young serving as the touchstone for ‘Never In My Wildest Dreams’. Things get a little funkier on ‘Cherry Bomb’ but on the whole, this is a record full of simple melodies and straight forward tunes, all with at least a couple of fingers in the country pie. Auerbach’s voice and playing are great whereas the songs on the record are good; the combination of both lands Waiting On A Song somewhere in between.