Thursday, July 10, 2008

Music Review: The Black Keys "Attack and Release"

Smooth and rhythmic are two words to describe the two man band the “Black Keys” featuring Dan Auerbach on guitar and Patrick Carney on drums. Hailing from Akron, Ohio the Black Keys are known for recording in unconventional places, like a half-finished basement, or on an empty rubber factory floor. Recording in this way adds a very unique sound to their albums all on its own, but when you add the guitar sound that is eerily close to a Hendrix riff, drumming that could almost match Rush’s Neil Peart, and lyrics that are soulful and rousing, you have the making of a great alternative blues band. To date the Black Keys have put out six albums; The Big Come Up, Thickfreakness, Chulahoma –the Songs of Junior Kimbrough, Rubber Factory, Magic Potion, and most recently Attack and Release. All their albums so far have been under the radar hits filled with music that just wants to make you get up and jam out on some wicked air guitar. So what about their latest album? How will it stand up to their five previous albums? Is it one step forward for their music or two steps back, and what is the sound of one hand clapping? All but one of these questions will be answered in my review of Attack and Release.

The Black Key’s latest album Attack and Release came out on April, 1st 2008. Wholly unique from their recent albums, Attack and Release was recorded in an actual studio, in collaboration with producer Danger Mouse, also known as Brian Burton. Danger Mouse adds an additional element never heard before in any Black Key’s album so far, the use of additional musical instruments such as jazz flute (which makes me think of Jethro Tull’s Cross Eyed Mary), the piano, and the organ.

Attack and Release as a whole album goes up and down with its beats and lyrics, like bipolar disorder never staying too upbeat or downtrodden for long, with precious little time to stay anywhere in between. The album starts off beautifully with All You Ever Wanted. A very melancholic beginning, with soulful undertones, starts this track, with lyrics that flow extremely well to the beat of the music (though I have yet to make any sense of them). Three quarters of the way through the song the organs start blasting, changing it to a southern church revival feel. The band then starts a rock session with their more upbeat songs I Got Mine and Strange Times. Overall, Attack and Release is a remarkable album, but it does drone on a bit after Remember When (Side B).

Though different from their other albums Attack and Release just does not have as many memorable tracks as some of their other albums do, but change is hard and they have put some excellent effort in trying to evolve their music.

Check out "Attack and Release" by The Black Keys at the library...

-Reviewed by Jesse The Librarian

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