April 3, 2008

Test Spin: Black Keys

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The best way to listen to the Black Key’s recently dropped album, Attack and Release, is with the volume pumped WAY up. Excessive volume most efficiently showcases the blues-folk-rock mix that the duo has perfected on their fifth album. This triumph is, no doubt, largely thanks to their genius collaboration with musician and producer Danger Mouse, whose influence is evident on many of the tracks. The DM and Black Keys pairing is smoothest on “Psychotic Girl” and “Mr Dibbs ‘Fight For Air’ Mash-Up”, where the use of banjo plays beautifully off DM’s haunting back vocals and beats. “Strange Times” and “I Got Mine” establish a fresh punk-blues sound, refining a style attempted on 2006’s Magic Potion. It seems the Black Keys have switched from the raw and unpolished feel of a low-fi recording style to something quite different. But the sound is authentic; no matter how polished their tracks are, the Black Keys always keep it bluesy.