Customer Reviews: Attack and Release
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on April 1, 2008
this is a great album. it was a nice move for the black keys to do something like this instead of another straight up blues/rock album. this album still maintains the black keys blues/rock flavor, but with an added danger mouse "spice". i heard that Ike Turner was meant to be a part of this album, but he passed away before that could be realized. that would have been very interesting to say the least. but back to the review of what is, and not what might have been- i know there will be a few reviews on here that will say something like "they changed" or something to that effect but the truth is, they went in a new direction and did something fresh. they have 4+ albums of the best damn blues/garage/rock ever made, and this new piece is a great addition. if they had made another straight up blues/rock album, then there would be folks saying things like "they should have done something different" so what can you do? i am going to hate myself for writing this, but this album reminds me A LITTLE of when the white stripes put out satan get behind me. ONLY because there are some new elements/instruments (moog/synth, banjo, woodwind/flute?, keys, hand claps, etc) on this album that may influence some fans to refer to this album as slightly experimental. i'm having a hard time putting my thoughts into words, and perhaps i should have waited a few days to post a review, but if you like the black keys, you will like this album. and even if you don't end up digging it, spend the ten bucks and support these guys. they are some of the few who are doing it right these days. i've been a fan since the beginning (the big come up) and i truly dig this album. long live the black keys.
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on April 1, 2008
On some level I agree with other reviewer. I totally understand why the Black Keys made this album. They are trying to move ahead musically but I feel that there are more weak songs on this album than any of their previous albums. Let me start by saying this is not like any other Black Keys albums. It is the Black Keys playing over some light trip-hop beats (provided by Danger Mouse aka the other half of Gnarls Barkley). The truth is that some of the songs on here are awesome and really capture the essence of what the Black Keys are all about (which as I see it is dirty mid fi rock and roll blues). On every Black Keys release until this one I could listen to the songs all the way through without skipping even one track. I love those albums, but this album I only kind of like. I skip a few songs when they come on. The songs I don't skip I love on this album though. If this is your introduction to the Black Keys I would start with one of their earlier albums. If you own all those, don't hesitate to buy this now. Just be aware that this is different than what you've heard before from The Black Keys.
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on April 12, 2008
The Black Keys' latest release was originally intended as the collaborative product of DJ Dangermouse, Ike Turner, and the title band. The man responsible for "Crazy," a couple of white Midwestern bluesmen, and the guy who almost sent Tina Turner rolling down the river was an unlikely grouping to say the least, and I for one was curious to hear the inevitably bizarre album. Unfortunately, before this marvelously disparate musical collision could get on its way Ike Turner passed away. Who knew decades of drug, alcohol, and spousal abuse could end a life so early? Ike left this plane of existence at the age of seventy-six.

I half expected a DJ Dangermouse mash up between The Black Keys and Li'l Bow Wow (or, does he go by Bow Wow now?), but thankfully Dangermouse decided to mostly stay out of the way and let the Keys do their thing. If you were to suck all the studio trickery out of Attack & Release you would still have a collection of some damn fine songs. What Dangermouse ends up doing best is accentuating the open space on the slower songs. He adds a psychedelic atmosphere that fits perfectly with the classic rock underpinnings of The Black Keys' songwriting, which has always been a few steps closer to Cream and Hendrix than Robert Johnson.

"Same Old Thing" is perhaps the only song where it feels as if Dangermouse is unsure of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney's songwriting and unleashes some unnecessary Gil Scot Heron inspired flutes just to gum up the works. The result is unfortunately more than a little distracting. Dangermouse is most effective on "Psychotic Girl," an acid trip on the bayou that's enhanced by wraithlike backing vocals and eerie piano notes. Auerbach provides appropriate paranoia-by-moonlight lyrics and infuses even the slower songs with a strong sense of melody, something that had been sorely missing on their previous record. While most Black Keys albums feel as if they just stop regardless of the whether the last song is an appropriate end point, here "Things Ain't Like They Used to Be" is a note perfect closer. The slow-dance pace and female backing vocals add just the right amount of effervescent heartbreak.

I'll put myself on record as being disappointed with The Black Keys' previous album, Magic Potion. After their superb (and still best) album, Rubber Factory, The Keys sounded listless and without momentum. The Ohioans needed a new direction. Attack & Release sounds like a true follow up to Rubber Factory, and even though I can't help but miss their minimalism, I fully welcome their rediscovered sense of adventure.
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on April 17, 2008
After four albums with little production and raw blues riffs it was inevitable that TBK would spice things up with some new elements and a polished sound. Although I understand the change I definetly miss little blues numbers like "Run Me Down" and "Hurt Like Mine". TBK's first three albums were so good, all 4 1/2 to 5 stars, that I'm beginning to think not even TBK will ever be able to out-do themselves.

From what I've heard and read it seems like DangerMouse didn't get in the way of the band that much, but he was a big reason this album sounded different and it's obvious when his influence is heavy. In an interview I read, DangerMouse talked about which songs he had alot of input on, and those just happen to be the songs I like the least. For example, "Remember When" Side A is the song I just skip on the album without question. I made myself listen and tried to give it a chance but it's just an experiment in production gone bad. "All You Ever Wanted" had a chance to be a great song if DangerMouse or whomever is responsible would have squeezed more out of the heavy ending and extended what was just getting interesting. Also there are a couple more effects DangerMouse added that just seem to be there for the sake of being there.

After making DangerMouse seem like the blues killer I should say there are a couple of things he did really well. I like that Dan's voice is more pronounced in most of the songs, he has a great blues rock voice and it should be a big part of all the songs. I think the piano and bango sound in "Psychotic Girl" and then the flute and production of "Same Old Thing" worked really well with the songs and made for two of the better songs on the album.

For me what makes this album a 3 1/2 star instead of a 3 is "Lies" and "I Got Mine". The sound and lyrics of Lies is bone chilling. Jus pure greatness. "I Got Mine" is a typical great Auerbach riff, and is the type of song I would play for someone who had never heard the Keys before. "Strange Times" has grown on me, but not what I think their single should have been. "So He Won't Break" and "Oceans and Streams" are decent songs but I'm glad they didn't do more than two of these type of songs. I can't put my finger on it but they sound like a good Duran Duran song or something, that's probably a real bad comparision so someone comment and give me a better comparision!

One thing I would like to see TBK do on their next album is extend some of their songs and just groove a little bit. Also, I would like to hear a couple of strongs solos in the album. This band is awesome live and I would like to hear just a little of their spontaneity on an album.

Overall I like the album but I don't love it. Two songs that I love, 3-4 I really like, 3-4 that are ok, and 1 or 2 that I can do without.

..I purchased a cd through amazon for the first time just so I could review TBK albums. I loath almost all modern music and until I was introduced to TBK I only consider myself a fan of bands that predated my birth. TBK is the real deal.
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on April 13, 2010
This is a great record. If you're a Black Keys fan, don't skip out on this one, just be aware that it's different; and there's nothing wrong with that. But of course therein lies the problem. For some, 'different' means 'bad', when really all you need to do is give it a chance. Don't pidgeonhole your artists. Imagine if Led Zeppelin had never been experimental; it wasn't their dedication to tradition, but rather a willingness to transcend said tradition which made them so monumental. Thus far, none of the BK albums have sounded exactly alike, so if what you wanted was another 'Rubber Factory', unfortunately this is not the case. What you do get however, is a well paced, well written, and exquisitely produced record from one of the best bands in the world. And for anyone out there who thinks this record was "ruined" by Dangermouse, just be understanding that it was the BK that sought him out, and continue to work with him, so I'm pretty sure this was exactly what they wanted.
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on November 22, 2010
My son introduced me to the Black Keys. I didn't know young men were out there producing such stunning music! Being an aged rocker, I love the blues and rock&roll. I will be ever grateful for the introduction to this group - I'm totally hooked! The albums I have heard so far, are all so different. A new experience every time. Attack and Release is one of my favourites. It's like nothing I've ever heard before. Laid back bluesy rock. I play them on the way to work and back. Can't get enough. Every song on this album is fabulous. I esp. love All you Ever Wanted, So he Won't Break and Lies. Love the Bluegrass sound on Psychotic Girl! But love em all. Not one I don't like. These boys are gifted and hope they continue to make such stunning music.
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on August 1, 2012
ATTACK & RELEASE was certainly a turning point for the Black Keys. After the duo released a couple of bluesy-rock albums (good ones at that) to not much public reaction, the band released ATTACK & RELEASE: an album that wasn't afraid to center on strong, radio-ready melodies. Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton (of Gnarls Barkley, Beck, and THE GREY ALBUM fame) was brought in to produce and collaborate on the album, and in this record, he serves as a third-member of the band. His involvement with the band turned out to be a divisive move for longtime Black Keys fans, but this album hits far more often than it misses.

Some of these songs do indeed exude a certain hypnotic rhythm that Danger Mouse has made his wheelhouse. "Psychotic Girl," for example, makes good use of Danger Mouse's trademark sound. The perfect combination comes along with "Strange Times," a song that is both definitely raw and dirty, but streamlined just enough to make a perfect lead single. Other songs however, feel relatively untouched by the producer. "I Got Mine," for example, wouldn't feel out of place on one of the Keys' earlier records. In most cases, the Black Keys' bluesy, dirty sound is relatively untampered with.

Unfortunately, the album seems to have its first half stacked with great songs, leaving the second half to kind of peter out. The first five songs on ATTACK & RELEASE are fantastic ("All You Ever Wanted," "I Got You," "Strange Times," "Psychotic Girl," "Lies.") The remaining 6 songs aren't bad, but they just are not as consistent -- the final track, "Things Ain't Like They Used to Be" is probably the best out of this last half. It's a mellow, moody song that hits all the right notes.

ATTACK & RELEASE is a pretty good album, but it seems to be relegated as "the one that came before BROTHERS." I would recommend fans of the Black Keys to seek out this album, but for those that are new to the band, BROTHERS is probably a better place to start. Essential tracks to sample/download: "Strange Times," "I Got Mine," and "Lies."
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on April 1, 2008
The album is a little bit different, it's polished but not in a way that takes away the fuzzy blues-rock that The Black Keys are known for.

When I first heard that Danger Mouse would be helping with the album, I wasn't so sure, but it turns out that he really didn't mess up what the band is all about like I thought he might. Some of the back beats are definitely not what I was used to hearing from them, but they don't really negatively influence any of the songs, in my opinion.

Their single, "Strange Times" is extremely catchy despite the fact that at the end I thought I was listening to an early 90's Snoop Dogg remix.

This album is not as good as their previous efforts, but it's not bad by any means. It's very good, but it's going to be a little bit difficult to adjust to if you buy the album thinking it's going to be the same thing as Thickfreakness or The Big Come Up.

They've moved in a different direction as musicians for this album, but not in the wrong direction. The album will surely grow on me and I already like it as it is.

Solid 4 stars.
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VINE VOICEon July 5, 2009
Some reviews have indicated that The Black Keys suffered from the production of Danger Mouse in Attack and Release. I dissent. Remember, Danger Mouse (aka Brian Joseph Burton) has produced some big winners in addition to this album, e.g., St. Elsewhere and Demon Days.

I almost never object to a lot of "bells and whistles" that are skillfully woven into the music. Simplicity for simplicity's sake is absurd.

I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album for a couple of months now. Stand out tracks include "Psychotic Girl" (is that a banjo?) and "Lies." Listen to the lyrics of "Lies." I think that's how we all want to go.

The Black Keys remind me a little of Joe South with a heavy dose of blues infused. Dan Auerbach's vocals give the tunes a quality of suffering that has been endured and overcome.
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on October 26, 2014
i own all the black keys albums. and i have to say that there is no depth to thier music; dan aiurbach ( forgive the spelling ) has not matured as a blues muscian/ not come into his own style. i know i know i sound like a jerk ; but do this for me. buy all the albums and listen to them back to back to back; after the first album and into the second, in whatever order you choose , you will see my point . they have that one little rif they use on EVERY SONG which was stolen / sampled from the sonics or supersonics from back in the day. i like the black keys but total regurgitated mashup marketed for the youngsters
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