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A slight change of pace
on 19 March 2008
I'm a huge fan of The Black Keys... I have all of their albums and singles and have seen them perform live 4 or 5 times. They play driving, gutteral, thumping, fuzzy rock and roll. Well, usually they do...
Sometimes they play dusty, bluesy rock and roll, and there is a lot of that to be found on 'Attack & Release'. With the exception of perhaps three tracks (of which two are my current favourites: 'I Got Mine' and 'Remember When - Side B') this album is short of high-tempo rocking tracks. The album does not suffer for it, but I get the sense that the live show's might. Every time I have seen these guys live, the crowd is enthralled until the slower tracks are played, and then after 30 seconds it's difficult to hear the band over the sound of 2000 people talking. I find this hugely annoying, as much of their slower, bluesy work is where you'll find their best song-writing, and that is the case on this album too.
Apart from the two up-tempo rockers mentioned earlier, other highlights include; the closing track 'Things Aren't What They Used To Be' which is a pretty epic, delicate, soulful duet, and the albums standout track "Psychotic Girl", a track that will surely earn its place on any future 'Best Of' compilation, where producer Dangermouse's influence is most prominent, adding depth to the Key's mid-tempo psychedlic sound with a bizarre choir.
In summary, if you are expecting an album full of 'Till I Get My Way'-esque stompers, you may be disappointed, but if you are willing to really listen to the slower, bluesy, soulful tracks found on this album, you will be rewarded by song-writing at it's finest.