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Magic Potion

4.6 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 12, 2006
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Product Description

Magic Potion, the Black Keys' fourth album, is a spectacularly stripped-down set of sneakily melodic blues-besotted rock concocted in the Akron, Ohio basement studio of drummer Patrick Carney. Guitarist-singer Dan Auedback is possessed of a compelling, hurt-beyond-his-years voice and an approach to lead guitar that is both wildly expressive and utterly succinct. The self-taught Carney, who anchors these tracks, may force writers to return "heavy" to the rock-critic lexicon as a seriously praiseworthy term. The Black Keys maintain a punk terseness to their adamantly do-it-yourself sound; they're as single-minded in their idiosyncratic evocation of the electric Mississippi blues as artists like the late Junior Kimbrough and R. L. Burnside as the Ramones were about early sixties rock and roll. However, there is nothing high-concept or ironically distanced about their style; it's all sweat, sincerity and as much swagger as Carney's basement allows.

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All hail the riff king! The Black Keys' guitarist/singer Dan Auerbach has the meanest way with a hook since Jimmy Page. He adds to his arsenal on the band's fourth full-length release, on which each track pounds its way into your skull with fuzzy, swampy fury. Less is very definitely more in Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney's world as the stripped-down guitar/drums attack smolders, burns, and then ignites without shifting into heavy-metal overdrive. But even with the occasional ballad such as "You're the One" slowing the momentum, this is an intoxicating blast of raw, thudding blues power. The duo impressively control the dynamics, raising and lowering the tension in a yin-yang struggle of ominous, greasy, heavy blues-rock that never sounds forced. With the exception of a few subtle but effective overdubs, this is the sound Auerbach and Carney heard in the drummer's basement studio where the music was recorded. Like the best rock and roll, the disc exudes a dark, cramped claustrophobia and foreboding sense of danger, just like wandering through a haunted house, unaware of what is behind the next corner. It's the main ingredient in the band's deceptively simple yet potent formula that creates this addictive, compelling, and often intense album. --Hal Horowitz
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 12, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000GPIPD8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,576 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gerald Brennan VINE VOICE on September 14, 2006
Format: Audio CD
It just doesn't get any simpler, or any better, than this.

"Magic Potion" features the same short list of ingredients that made The Black Keys great--only now everything's blended toghether even more perfectly. Two guys--guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Pat Carney. Timeless blues songs about the timeless things: love, lust, desire, duplicity, troubles both simple and insurmountable. Auerbach's perfect blues voice, with just the right amount of weariness and longing. Just the right amount of drumming from Carney. And swirling throughought, Auerbach's great electric guitar crunching through monster blues riffs and spreading out into long lonely arcs of electrified ache.

On paper, the Black Keys sound like something dreamed up by record company executives trying to copy The White Stripes. Two people? Check. From a Rust Belt town? Check. Playing garage-y blues? Check. A name with a color in it? Check.

It sounds like something that's been done before. And it has. And yet the music's so good and simple and timeless and catchy that you can't help but love it anyway--this is the kind of music you hear just once and say, "Wow--who is this?" so you can pick up your own copy at your earliest convenience, if not sooner. The songs are every bit as good, and perhaps even more consistent, than those on 2004's "Rubber Factory." And there's some killer lyrics here, to boot. "I don't wanna go to hell, but if I do, it'll be cause of you," Auerbach growls on "Strange Desire," and it's hard to think of a simpler, fresher, or more authentically blues-y lyric. The band's website says this album's about "getting their signature sound down to a science," and that sounds about right. It's a shame more musicians can make timeless music so effortlessly--there's plenty of bands out there with three times as many people that don't sound half as good.
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Format: Audio CD
The Black Keys are one of my favorite rock and roll bands with their garage band minimalism tempered by touches of blues and psychedelia. But I was a little surprised when the band signed to the eclectic Nonesuch label and wondered how this would affect their sound. Well, I needn't wonder at all as this album was literally recorded in a band member's basement and keeps the same raw and exciting sound as the bands previous work. Most of the songs are kept short and sweet with blistering blues based guitar and basic drumming giving way to melodic hooks like in "Your Touch" which is very catchy and has elements of pop without compromising their rough and tumble sound.

"You're the One" slows things down to a ballad tempo with a gauzy, slightly trippy love song that plays against the bands stereotype. "Just a Little Heat" and "Give Your Heart Away" find the band hopping back on the boogie train, while the bluesy wail of "Strange Desire" goes back to the bands roots and shows the groups knows its strength and plays to it admirably as they do with the blasting "Modern Times" and the lengthy workout "Goodbye Babylon." Anyone interested in unadorned rock and roll will find much to enjoy here.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the best hard rock album of the year (more like the best rock album since "Elephant") that i've heard at least, this is their most solid work since "The Big Come Up" my other favorite BLACK KEYS album, every song rocks hard especially
"Just A Little Heat", "Modern Times", "Goodbye Babylon", "Just Got To Be", "Give Your Heart Away" and "Black Door" this album is ridiculously good!!!!
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By BrianD on September 20, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm relatively new to the Black Keys. I'm working my way through all of their material now. Obviously not every album appeals to each person the same. This however is my favorite so far and primarily for the guitar work. I uniformly liked it from the first listen. I think it is a spectacular work. it makes me want to pick up my guitar.
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I am 32 with somewhat young parents. So I grew up with my parents blaring Journey, Led Zepplin, Steve Miller Band, and Cat Stevens. I know what good rock is and these guys are IT.

Hearing all the greats growing up, I recognize many of their styles in the Black Keys music and none of it comes off as a cheap copy-cat sound like so many bands tend to. These two guys have talent of their own and they play music that just plain sounds good.

It's the kind of music you want to hear when you go out drinking beer with the guys or when you're driving in your car, or when you want to go out and hear a damn good live show.

I can't seem to take this CD out of rotation - it's really damn good!
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Format: Audio CD
I don't want to like this band, or this album, as much as I do. It bugs me a little bit that they won't add a bassist so Auerbach can rip some screeching blues solos full of passion and heartache. I can sense that he wants to let loose on this record more than any of their others - but can't because of the restrictions that their 2 person set up inevitably will always bring. All that having been said, this record is nothing short of amazing. I've only had it for a few days and I can't stop listening to it. This is far and away the Black Keys' strongest record to date. The singing on this record captures the blues more than any white rock band I have ever heard - from Zeppelin to Stevie Ray Vaughn and ZZ Top and the rest. Mr. Auerbach was blessed with a voice that came straight from the murkiest waters of the Mississippi Delta. Listening to the Black Keys - especially on this record - is like being transported to a time and place that is long gone. They make the blues exciting and invigorating again. This does not sound like a white blues-rock band. Magic Potion is fuzzed-out heart-wrenching pure blues from start to finish. It is one of the most urgent, honest, emotional records I have heard in some time. The riffs are brutal yet silky smooth, and Dan Carney's drums hit hard throughout. As for the singing, I think Dan Auerbach has the best voice in music today. I'll refrain from an exhaustive discussion of the individual songs. Suffice it to say there is not one remotely weak track on this disc. The songs are so strong you'll scarely notice the stripped down minimalism of the Black Keys' sound. With this release the Black Keys have gone from the best indie novelty act around to a full-blown rock and roll powerhouse.Read more ›
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