Magic Potion review by The Black Keys

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  • Released: Sep 12, 2006
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 7.9 (43 votes)
The Black Keys: Magic Potion

Sound — 7
Talking about The Black Keys everybody takes it as a due to compare them to The White Stripes. No, they are not the followers of The White Stripes. Even though there are only two of them and they play guitar and drums. More likely, they got a chance for success after somebody else did that and gave the label companies the belief the idea is worth something. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney decided to do it together after the other members of the band they had before didn't show up for their first recording. They started recording in 2001 and released approximately one album each year, changing record labels along the way. Magic Potion is the band's fourth full-length album, this time on Nonesuch records and, as they claim, presents The Black Keys at their heaviest, grittiest and most powerfully stripped down. Based on nostalgia to the '70s, the band's significant blues rock sound will bring you the memories of Led Zeppelin and The Jimmy Hendrix Experience. With only two instruments in the arsenal, the music appears to be minimalist and straight-forward. Patrick Carney attacks the drums with a fierce as if that's the last thing he can do to save the world. The drums purposely have very little bass in the sound for the flat feeling, while guitar is definitely starring here and Dan Auerbach produces some great riffs. This could make one of the best rock guitar albums being released lately. Your Touch could make a massive hit thanx to it's repetitive chorus and killer riff, but it lacks diversity. Apart from most other songs, this one has some drive in it, but still leaves you wish for more. You're The One is an attempt for a mellow 'Sunday afternoon' song with a quaking guitar. The music is monotone and songs hardly differ one from another. It would turn into a disaster to listen to the end of the CD if you don't dig in Led Zeppelin.

Lyrics — 7
All by itself the poetry is poor. It's simple and shines with the nuggets like I don't want to go to hell, but if I do/It'll be because of you! Though vocalist Dan Auerbach saves the situation by his powerful vocal delivery. He sings even the most ridiculous lines as if these are the best lyrics ever written. Vocalist Dan Auerbach is squeezing out of his voice as much as he can, but still there's more emotions in it than professionalism. In fact, if we're talking about the music of the '70s, I shouldn't mention professionalism at all. There are quite a few ideas popular at those days -- like a vocal dialog with a guitar in Modern Times. To make a picture of the '70s more realistic, Auerbach even puts a scratching effect over his voice.

Overall Impression — 7
I should give credit to the band -- they've found their own seal (even though the influences are more than obvious, it still differs from everything we get to hear today). Being stuck to one particular sound five years ago, The Black Keys stubbornly keep to it up to today. All the tracks stay to be at one level of emotions rarely varying from the medium mark. The record desperately misses at least one massive hit. Forget the excitement about the old rock blues sound, and Magic Potion can be called a mediocre album. The music invites you to chill out lending to your nostalgia memories. Which means the guys pretty much got what they wanted. As Auerbach describes it, The idea was for people to be able to sit on a porch with a can of beer and blast the record through a boom box. The music would seem fairly good to you if you haven't heard The Black Keys previous five records. It would seem to you even better if you've never heard of The White Stripes. If you have, Magic Potion would seem like the same old song over and over again. The album cover art is beautiful -- the Faberge egg and a bird. It would take you a while to realize what a scrambled egg has to do in here.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Nicely written review, I'm looking at etting a Black Keys album, but I'll probably get Thickfreakness first.
    I loved this album; to be honost though I preferred ThickFreakness. I loved how that had the egg, the bird, and then the scrambled egg inside.
    I think I like Rubber Factory best so far, mainly because of its versatility from the loud, anthemic blues to the more subdued, country stuff.
    I love the black keys, but magic potion was a bit of a let down. Great review!