THE BLACK KEYS
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Attack&Release features an unexpected pairing: Danger Mouse of the hugely successful soul/hip hop outfit Gnarls Barkley with the blues-rock duo The Black Keys. On past releases, The Black Keys had recorded their primal blues-rock sludge in places like an unfinished Ohio basement and an abandoned rubber factory. With Danger Mouse producing, The Black Keys record in an actual studio for the first time and augment their guitar/drums attack with blasts of organ, backing vocals and bass. The result is an album more textured and inviting than any The Black Keys have ever done. “Strange Times” recalls the twisted hard rock of Queens of the Stone Age, while “Lies’ is a classic-sounding slow blues number.
The most notable mash-up between Danger Mouse and The Black Keys’ sensibilities is “Psychotic Girl,” a CD highlight that features the DJ’s trademark lithe basslines and tinkling piano mixed with Black Keys’ vocalist Dan Auerbach’s weathered croon and banjo playing. Such innovations make The Black Keys robust blast of blues rock on numbers like “I Got Mine” and “Remember When (Side B)” refreshing even though that formula had begun to be worn thin by the time of the band’s previous outing, 2006’s Magic Potion.