The Black Keys have long been hyped and loved by their cult worshippers since they entered the garage-rock scene back in 2001. Eight albums later, they’re one of the most popular post the-death-of-rock’n’roll blues rock bands of this generation. They have a good reputation among audiophiles when it comes to displays of musical integrity and honoring American roots. Guitarist and lead vocalist of the rock duo Dan Auerbach has been busy with a some other endeavors as well. For one, he had his hand in producing Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence, and, most recently – his solo project The Arcs’ debut release, Yours, Dreamily.

It would make sense that his next logical step in growth as an artist would be the pursuance of solo projects, and that’s exactly what The Arcs are. On the technical side, they’re a band full of heavy hitters – Nick Movshon, the bassist from Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”, Dap-Kings drummer Homer Steinweiss, and Shins veteran Richard Swift. The seasoned group led by the growl of Auerbach’s blues-inspired tunes and tones create the perfect platform to present his sound. Their debut Yours, Dreamily, reminds us that Auerbach isn’t just in The Black Keys. He IS The Black Keys. The record is an Auerbach record, in every sense of the word. At times, it plays like a done-up Black Keys record. Auerbach’s signature vocals are the same as always – fuzzy, grainy, bluesy, drowned out through a barrage of protools effects and expensive vintage compression. The tangy, overdriven guitar tones – also signature of the Black Keys – are majorly present.

While Turn Blue expressed much of Auerbach’s own personal narrative, Yours, Dreamily takes on more of an abstract tone, yet, fails to convey ideas as powerfully as his Black Keys narrative. The record opens with “Outta My Mind”, which might as well be a jazzed up Black Keys production. With the chorus proclaiming “outta my mind, but I made it,” we can’t help but wonder what the subject matter is, and feel slightly underwhelmed by the lack of clues. It seems as though with lines like that, there isn’t much introspective thought woven in. It’s unknown whether the lack of depth was a personal choice or error, but, with little deviation from his Alma Mater sounds, it’s hard to do anything but compare this to a Black Keys record.

For a few songs, he draws inspiration from pre-existing old time romantic stories. “Pistol” discusses dodging bullets ala John Wayne, while “Rosie (Oh La La)” tells the tale of a solider sent to war, sending love letter’s to his sweetheart at home. We’ve seen the roots-y material done many times before, and better – think Willie Nelson or any of Jeff Tweedy’s projects. It feels as though Auerbach’s important place in the music industry gives him a right of passage to foray into whichever musical domain he pleases. This freedom, however utopian, often yields less favorable results. Blame it on our hamartia.

Although the record is certainly fun and incredibly well produced, there’s not much to make it stand out among the thousands of other records of the same candor. At the same time, however, in a world of poorly produced music, Auerbach is one of the few on the Pop scene who still adheres to classic music production forms. For that, as a rock purist, I can appreciate Yours, Dreamily.