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A little late with this one sorry. I have had the new Black Keys album Attack & Release for a week now but have been a bit busy to write the review. But as I sit here listening to the LP and my mind and body not knowing what time it is, I thought I should make amends.

First of all, bless you Nonesuch. I love buying LP’s where they throw the CD in there with it. A nice touch which will make me buy everything on their label on vinyl. I may pay $5-8 more, but who cares for the goodness of vinyl and the practicality of the CD all bundled together. A few labels do it now, or at the least you usually get a free legal download thrown in, so you want to stop piracy then do smart things like this.

Australia loves the Black Keys. We jumped on board early on. When thickfreakness got released all the good radio stations (ie RRR) and even some OK ones (ie JJJ) got on board. I mean how can you not play tracks like Set You Free a million times? So as a result we have the guys tour every 6 months and their albums usually debut pretty high. Makes me happy to think there is some taste out there in this wide land and the fact I get to see a favourite band a few times a year. But to the album…

The presence of Danger Mouse as producer has been a big deal. Talk of how the Black Keys sound had changed was getting about. But the reality? This sounds just like the Black Keys, just with the odd extra instrument in the mix. But I think it also means the best album since thickfreakness. This is not to say that Rubber Factory and Magic Potion are not great (they are, with Magic Potion less so though), just that they suffered a little from maybe 2 or 3 so-so tracks in there. But this is their strongest set since the first couple albums. It is maybe that the keys in those few tracks just flesh them out that bit and add a great dynamic in there. I think the songs though are all pretty strong though too.

The one-two-three punch of the opening 3 tracks is awesome. In fact when I first heard Strange Times one morning on RRR I was ecstatic. But as I said I think the whole album is consistently great. Heartfelt numbers mixed with the rock really well. So it has been on pretty heavy rotation over the last week (competing though with Raconteurs is tough). And announcement that they are back in June made me very happy. It will be really interesting to see how they translate these tracks. Rough, raw, and raucous still I imagine.

… muttler


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