Saturday, 6 August 2011
Attack & Release-The Black Keys
The Black Keys have always been a fantastic rock band. Their style of no-nonense blues, ultra fuzzy riffs and soul-rock crooning define them as a mashup between The White Stripes and the album “Let It Be” by The Beatles.
Attack and Release is their best album for a number of reasons. Firstly is the step up in vocals, Dan Auberch has a cool hum and the lyrics reflect a spooky but mellow tone that is very hypnotic. It is the harmonies, however, with super producer Danger Mouse that take this album to a higher level. This echo adds to the other worldly feel and the absolute catchiness to all the songs.
The production, in fact, is top notch even by DM standards. He finds an appropriate extra something to mix into each song. With such a no nonsense, refined band finding these sounds is essential to giving the tracks character, with which he imbues with expert confidence. “Psychotic Girls” incorporates a banjo in the back, giving it a deep southern vibe and, I can’t help but feel, harping back to that scene in Deliverance. “Strange Times” has synth quietly blurting in the background giving a post-modern, almost futuristic thrill. And “Things Ain’t Like They Used To Be” features an organ, complementing the slouching, morose guitar riff. The way he picks up on every sound in these cocktails is also impressive, nothing overpowers or takes centre stage, but somehow the melodies, riffs and fantastic drumming all shine clearly.
Like all of The Black Keys records though there is no substitute for good old fashioned virtuoso playing, and the duo give perfect performances. Every fill, beat and riff is spot on and the strength of the music means the hooks can get very deeply into your brain.
This album is a textbook example of how to make a slow burning, rhythm and blues record. So if the childrens yapping and yelping is getting on your nerves, this is the perfect substitute.