An early review, or preview, if you will, of the Black Keys' new album Attack & Release. We gave you all a taste of what was to come when we let you all listen to first single "Strange Times." Not too many readers then, so we weren't quite sure what you all were thinking. I'm going to have to put it out there and say that a lot of long time Keys fans will be a little put-off by this album. It is the first with a flashy producer, the first in a full studio, and the first to add noticeable instrumental flourishes on most tracks (organ, flutes, etc.). But for what it's worth, I still hear the same ass-kicking, balls on fire, guitar and drums band from Akron, Ohio.
Overall, the album has a much more laid back feel. That's not to say the album doesn't have it's fair share of blistering bluesy rock tracks (see "I Got Mine", "Strange Times", and "Remember When (Side B)"), but some of the strongest tracks are the ones that move at their own pace. Of these, two standouts are "So He Won't Break," and "Things Ain't Like They Used To Be." The former sounding like the perfect musical companion to a scene in a gangster movie that involves either blow or strippers, or, ideally, both. The latter pulls itself off as one of the most beautiful tracks the Keys have ever written. Bittersweet, simple, and exemplifying everything the blues are really about: women and broken hearts ("she's got the kind of love I need, the kind that's never good on me").
A super-short, super-preliminary review, but if I had to, I'd highly recommend going out and buying this album on April 1st.