Sound — 9
After reading about the Black Keys in Rolling Stone, I had t give them a listen. It took a while to get used to the striped back, lo-fi sound of the black keys, but so enough I was hooked. Though the album gets off to an odd start with the folksy "All you ever wanted, my interest was saved by I got mine with its ridiculously simple but catchy hook. Strange times has an ominously epic sound to hit with another awesome riff. Though Dan Auerbach's voice is difficult to get used to at first, his deep, soulful voice makes a major impact on the next two tracks, Psychotic Girl and Lies. The bands use of Remember When on the album really showed me how artistically gifted these guys are. Side A is a spacey, border line psychedelic tune, while side B is the same lyrics but with completely different music, an upbeat rock romp. Same old thing is a laboring blues tune with a rolling drum beat. So he won't break is a sudden departure of sorts. It has the sound of a '50s/'60s pop song with a rock feel. My favorite song, Oceans and Streams goes back to a back bone riff with a solid drum beat and a moaning chorus that really hits you. The final track Things ain't like they used to be is a light, almost country feel that does a great job of closing out a great album.
Lyrics — 7
As I stated, Auerbach's vocals can feel a little strange at first, but when used as an accompaniment to the music, it really complements the music well. As for lyrics, Auerbach lets the lyrics flow thought the album. No real point is conveyed but it somehow has relevance with the song. Their not forced and seem to fit into place perfectly. Songs like Lies, So he won't break, and Things ain't like they used to be have great lyrical value whereas the rest of the album can be hit and miss. Not bad, but not great. But for the Keys, music comes first, and then lyrics are blended with song.
Overall Impression — 9
Under the direction of Danger Mouse, the band takes more of an artsy turn, but in a good way. Layered tracks, background vocals, and multiple instruments (including bass) give the Black Keys a new dimension. Compared to Magic Potion (the other album I have), Attack & Release doesn't quite have the edge and quality Magic Potion does. None the less a great album and one of the best I've heard in a while.