Album: The Black Keys, Attack & Release (V2/Cooperative)
Friday 28 March 2008
Danger Mouse is partly responsible for another of this week's strongest releases, his production of The Black Keys' fifth album adding layers of character and mystery to the duo's core blues-rock.
Attack & Release was recorded at Suma Studios in Cleveland, location of Pere Ubu's great early work, and likewise features dark emotions stirring beneath a patinated surface. Though often compared to The White Stripes, the Keys' formula owes more to late-Sixties Brit-blues exponents: "I Got Mine" could be from Free's first album, "Strange Times" is a full ankle-length army greatcoat prog-rock boogie, and when flute appears in "Same Old Thing", the ghost of Jethro Tull hovers. But elsewhere the addition of marimba, organ, banjo and astringent psychedelic guitar to tracks such as "Lies" and "So He Won't Break" lends colour to their largely bleak, desolate world. "Psychotic Girl" is great, a striding swamp-funk groove complete with sinister Gris-Gris-style backing vocals over a woozy organ and slide-guitar motif, the most overtly haunted moment of a dark and brooding album.
Pick of the album: 'Psychotic Girl', 'All You Ever Wanted', 'I Got Mine', 'Lies', 'Remember When (Sides A & B)'
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