The thick, swinging blues perpetrated by the Black Keys (from Akron) owes as much to the ass-out swagger of Masters of Reality as it does to the bottom-rich thud of Blue Cheer. And, given that there are only two Black Keys -- guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney -- the full-bodied thrust they deliver is that much more impressive. Although the duo's debut was rightly hailed as a kick-ass album, the sophomore effort reveals the progressively more obvious fact that you only need two guys and a well-tuned guitar to rock the blues properly. Auerbach's cracked vocals provide just the right amount of wearied soulfulness (and could they have been recorded any worse?), but it's the raw power of his beefy, subdued guitar work and Carney's head-splitting drumming that makes "Thickfreakness" such an explosive album.