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4.4 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 4 September 2008
This really isn't an album i thought i'd ever get into. I had heard of these guys but the whole 2 piece band thing made me think of the White Stripes; who i really don't like. So that was an obstacle i'd have to overcome to keep a clear mind when listening to this album. Also im a bit of a metalhead; favourite bands being Slayer, Slipknot, Tool etc but i do love my southern blues....which i guess is why i love this album. The sheer fact that if you didnt know there were 2 guys in this band you'd never be able to guess. There's just so much going at at once, which is where i think the White Stripes fail, to me it's very obvious there is 2 people there. You've got guitar, drums, vocals and a bit of flute thrown in. You can really hear alot of influences here too. Bands such as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix Experience and Jethro Tull are all heard in amongst these 11 songs, which are coincidentally three of my favourite bands.

My personal favourites on this album have to be "I Got Mine", "Lies" and "Same Old Thing"; but i think every song has its merits. The slow build up of the opener "All You Ever Wanted" puts you in a false sense of security and the intro to "I Got Mine" blows you out of the water. A song myself i enjoy to play on the drums, not quite anything as hard as Slayer to play but enjoyable all the same!! Every track seems to flow and connect with the next and i fail to see a weak point in the album. Although from reading previous reviews i would seem to be bang wrong as i've seen a few 1, 2 star reviews but then again i havn't heard any of their other albums so maybe im not worth listening to. But i guess i'll leave that up to you. I do kind of feel i'm giving this album some injustice by giving 4 and not 5 stars but i feel i'd have to check out more of their past material to compare, so i feel asif 4 is fair for now.

To conclude, if you enjoy a bit of the old blues and/or some old school rock and roll from the 60's and 70's i urge you to check this album out. This is coming from someone who enjoys listening to Deicide and Nile, if i like it then you must have a pretty good chance!!
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on 1 October 2008
Fantastic new album from the Wonderful Black Keys. If you've never heard them before I can highly recommend them if you like Blues, Classic Rock but with a modern twist, similar but better (yes better) than the White Stripes. I agree with some of the other reviewers that it's more polished than previous outing but I don't mind this. Check out their back catalouge now!
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A bit of a long time blues fan, I was recommended this after buying some classic Chicago stuff from Amazon. I read the reviews and decided to take a punt.

The album is packed full of up-tempo hard blues, played by an expert band. It really did not disappoint. From the off I was entranced by their great lyrics and guitar work. There is the odd reflective moment, but in general this is as good an album of driving blues as you could wish to hear. I loved it and am now in search of the rest of their back catalogue.

Any fans of Joe Bonamassa, Stevie Ray Vaughn or even our own Joanne Shaw Talyor will love this album.
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VINE VOICEon 12 March 2010
This is my first Black Keys album and what an introduction. I've played this through mercilessly on numerous occassions and love the way that the whole album just flows.

Someone suggested that this had White Stripes hallmarks, but outside of the band being a 2 piece, and that they play with a bluesy style, then that's where the comparison ends. The whole feel is more bluesy, slightly softer than the Stripes with fantastic songs and brilliant musicianship.

It works as a whole so please don't download your fave tracks, given time each song will become a cherished favourite.
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on 29 April 2008
This album has been universally praised by the critics and has somewhat divided the fans, my opinion lies somewhere inbetween the two. Apparently so legend goes this album is the result of some songs the Keys wrote for Ike Turner to be included on an album produced by Dangermouse. However when Turner died Dangermouse and the Keys decided to collaborate directly and record the songs intended for Turner themselves. This may be why songs of the songs on the album aren't quite from the top drawer compared to the Keys previous illustrious standards, notably the opener "All You Ever Wanted" which is just a bit dull and the diptych of "Remember When (sides A & B)" at the album's heart which just isn't that great a song to merit two versions (or even one!). However there ARE some great tracks here, notably "Same Old Thing" (a knowing wink being offered here judging from the title), "Lies" and "Things Ain't Like They Used To Be" amongst others. They've definitely broadened their sound to incorporate other influences, notably 60's soul and psychedelia, but without diluting their core essence. How much this is down to Dangermouse I don't know but it must be said that DM's production IS fantastic, tasteful without overwhelming the Keys natural sound and sometimes mindblowing as in the Roland Rashaan Kirk styled flute on the intro to "Same Old Thing", I'd definitely like to hear more of that sort of thing in the future..... I'm hoping that DM and the Keys will hook up again in the future since they seem a natural, if not obvious, match and with a more consistent batch of songs matching the best on this set then a genuine classic could emerge. So nearly but not quite a home-run but still a very fine album from without doubt the best contemporary band out there at the moment.
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on 22 April 2008
I can't believe the reviews of this album from some existing black keys fans. Ok the production on this album is a step away from previous albums but is that a bad thing or is it not the band just growing and taking their music on to a new level? I agree that the attraction of their earlier albums is the rawness of the production but this doesn't exactly represent the band selling out and going for No 1 in the charts!!
If I can quote from history, I remember Led Zeppelin III being greeted with reviews of shock horror because it had acoustic tracks but what this album represented was zep moving on to a new level and from their they produced two of the all time best rock albums in IV and Physical Graffiti. Point being, The BKs could go on forever producing the same stuff but would not get much further forward and a band as good as this deserves to be exposed to as wide an audience as possible.
I think the album is good but maybe not as good as earlier outings and agree with W R Donnelly and Mark Davies that this is one of the few band's creating exciting and original music and this just represents them experimenting with new and different sounds. Who knows where the next album might take them.
I'm giving it 5 stars to try and take the ratings up but it's probably truly a 4 star album - for first timers try Magic Potion or the excellent Chulahoma.
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on 1 July 2010
I am a long time heavy metaller (mainly death/doom metal) that happened to see the live version of track #2 "I got mine" from abbey road on Swedish TV. I got curious and tried out the rest of this album. It's a cool piece with a lot of rock n' roll. Admittedly the best track, #2, is a cover, but the rest of the album is great too. Since this is far from my usual listening I can't describe it very well, I just wanted to give it my rating. One star knocked off for being slightly too slow for my taste sometimes, and a short-ish album. You can never have too much rock n roll in an album after all!
Anyway, this music works well to vary my heavier music with, great songs.
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on 23 May 2010
This is an absoluty bargain, the cd is excellent of course but for 1 GBP more then the single cd, you get a dvd with the complete Crystal Ballroom concert, 3 music videos, a making of one of these videos and a film about the album being made. Get thsi version while you can!
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on 18 October 2008
I was very skeptical with the release of this album. I had heard that it would be rather different from there previous records. Never the less, i was still very excited, being the massive TBK fan i am.

And of course i was extremely impressed with the different, but inspiring songs. Even though i do prefer some of the older albums, Attack & Release did not fail to impress.
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