Review: Black Keys – Attack and Release

Street date release: 4/1/08

On the Danger Mouse produced follow-up to 2006's “Magic Potion” (also stellar), the “Attack and Release” title is extremely evident with tracks that grab you with their teeth and throw you away. The mood of the album is immediately set by the ghostly, half-groove opener “All You Ever Wanted”. Danger Mouse's production is immediately heard and the union is analog, sampled, “synthy” and rich.

“I Got Mine” immediately takes you to a garage somewhere in Akron for a jam straight from a Keys practice session, or so it sounds. Raw and crash symbol infused, Auerbach sings, “I was a movin' man, in my younger days” over a fuzzed and notey lick. At about 2:00, Danger Mouse drops in some haunting samples mixed with what sound like 8-bit raindrops.

Immediately into the first single and prog. rocking “Strange Times”; as in the previous track, Danger Mouse and the Keys meet perfectly in the middle.

The layered “Psychotic Girl” (one of my favs) brings back the banjo and drum-machine sound (they're live though) to meet with a DM section that I can only describe as “the soundtrack to a mystery while riding “Pirates of the Carribean” on acid."

What would it sound like if the Black Keys were abducted by aliens while rehearsing in a 747 test hangar? Answer: “Lies”.

The two-part track that follows- “Remember Me”, sides A and B, begins with the mellow and lazy-snared “Side A”. In my head, the track immediately produces imagery of Chief from “...Cuckoo's Nest”, under-water...

The “motor running-down” (me and Danger Mouse love the DL-4) and ending synth-dots are amazing (sounds like a sampled backwards guitar).

Don't let that scare you.

It's an amazing precursor to “Side B”, a kick-down the door jam with a heavy, surf-rock solo that seals it.

“Same Old Thing” - After a 70's, detective intro., the reverb-heavy lick starts to bring the album to the start of it's “come down”.

A sustained fuzz-attack slowly gains strength to battle the explosions coming off of Carney's drum heads.

Over the track of what sounds like a computer scrambling numbers, a post-hook strum completes a 60's, pop-psyche riff in "So He Won't Break". It concludes with the guitar sounding like it's being played through a 10w amp turned to 11.

“Oceans and Streams” brings you back to the party for one last drink. Organ-flares introduce a double-time symbol pattern by Patrick Carney. An “Akron special” solo is thrown-in, quickly back into the riff and then a last stand by the slide-steel.

The Dan Auerbach and Jessica Lea Mayfield duet “Thing Ain't Like They Used to Be” closes the album like a cigarette burning-out on the ground.

Rating: 4.8/5