March 28, 2008
The Black Keys got their name from one Ohio resident’s term for “not quite right”. The same could be said for the pair’s fifth album, which confuses with its mix of blues, noise rock and hip-hop. There’s a fine line between blues authenticity and pub-rock tedium and, accordingly, ‘Attack & Release’ often falls victim to parody. Much has been made of the fact that Danger Mouse was responsible for production duties, but what actually ensues is a stand-off between the malt whiskey traditionalism of the Keys and his fresh studio techniques. It’s at its best when the pair strip things back – ‘Psychotic Girl’ features a smouldering banjo and Danger Mouse’s church choral hums that really send these blues sailing downriver to the Mississippi Delta. Sadly, these moments are too rare, leaving the record a victim of teetering bar-stool choruses and jukebox melodies.
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