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Attack & Release

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Editors’ Notes

Akron, Ohio’s Black Keys hooked up with Gnarls Barkley producer Danger Mouse for their fifth studio album and first to be recorded in a real recording studio. The added fidelity, along with the addition of special guests, Tom Waits’ sidemen Marc Ribot and Ralph Carney, make for surprisingly standard nightclub blues (“Oceans and Streams,” and a duet with country-bluegrass singer Jessica Lea Mayfield for “Things Ain’t Like They Used to Be”). Organs and background vocals trill in full-blown, full-band orthodox glee. (The Black Keys initially were composing an album for R&B legend Ike Turner who unexpectedly passed before the collaboration could commence.) Elsewhere, the band’s defiant, independent spirit can be heard in the crackle and hum of the blues-based, but overall punk-inspired energy of “I Got Mine,” “Strange Times,” and “Remember When (Side B).” The two-man band use the extra fidelity to spread out a desolate, lonesome mood for “Lies” and “Remember When (Side A)” and a psychedelic crunch for “Same Old Thing” where a bird-calling flute adds a late-‘60s vibe. 

Customer Reviews

I know it's not Coldplay, but hear me out

You know, i once heard Chris Martin interviewed about the album x and y, and he was asked to speak on the new sound the band had taken on for that album, and he simply replied, "we're not going to be held back." Illustrating that purest of ideas towards which ALL musicians these days should strive, and that is improvement. Learning. Expansion. Experimenting. It's what's normal to do, really, anyone reading this who plays an instrument understands, once you have mastered a technique, or scale, or riff or whatever, then you want to do more of it! Move on to bigger and better things, see what else is out there to be played, and for anyone still reading my rambling, that is where the Black Keys have finally come. New things, and they're checkin it all out, and they're doing it nicely. If you like that good ole Dan crunchy guitar riff sound, it's still there, but there's also some new and interesting things to check out. Go ahead, take it all in, it's a fun album. Thanks for humoring me.

Maturation a la Dangermouse

Many Black Keys purists will whine and complain that this album is too overproduced. They will say that they use of other instruments takes away from the Keys' original style, and that it is too far a step away from their old techniques of recording raw blues in their basement. But they are all wrong. This album is a masterpiece from the duo from Akron, as their musical talents alongside Dangermouse's production abilities makes for a perfect match of modern day blues. Dangermouse brings to the Keys a new, deeper sound, one that is evident by the use of multiple instruments and different layers on songs within the album. The key thing to note is that the Keys dont lose their blues roots, rather they polish them and use them through different outlets. True music fans will appreciate this album for what it is, and not complain about it due to the fact that it is different than what they have done in the past. It is another stellar album from the Black Keys, one that cements their place among the best bands in America, as well as cementing Dangermouse's status as one of the top producers within the industry. Job well done guys, job well done.


Being that I have been really fond of this band since thickfreakness, I feel obligated to eat some crow. When Danger Mouse was mentioned for production, I ranted about the mistake these cats were making...several times. No disrespect to DM, I simply thought he was outside of his domain. This album ruined that argument. I have not quit listening to this MASTERPIECE for the past two days. Absolutely amazing...front to back. Every song cuts straight to the bone, and stays there. Magic. Mr. Mouse, my deepest apologies for the ignorant assumptions.


Formed: 2001 in Akron, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

It's too facile to call the Black Keys counterparts of the White Stripes: they share several surface similarities -- their names are color-coded, they hail from the Midwest, they're guitar-and-drum blues-rock duos -- but the Black Keys are their own distinct thing, a tougher, rougher rock band with a purist streak that never surfaced in the Stripes. But that's not to say that the Black Keys are blues traditionalists: even on their 2002 debut, The Big Come Up, they covered the Beatles' psychedelic...
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