The Black Keys, Attack & Release

The Black Keys
Attack & Release

While not often a proponent of “blues-driven” retro-rock, I gladly give it up for The Black Keys. Guitarist-vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney do what they do beautifully without copping to a shtick or resorting to silly outfits and flamboyant stage antics. Rather, they trade in hurricane force bashing and hollering, great lyrics and sexy, melancholy melodies. Live they bring it 100-percent every time. Which is to say, despite each being only 27 years old, these sweaty, flannel-clad dudes are well on their way to becoming legit 21st-century bluesmen. Indeed, so legit that Danger Mouse has production credits here—he’d originally tapped the band to write songs for an album with the late R&B legend Ike Turner before Turner’s unexpected passing last December. Damn. The lead-off track “All You Ever Wanted” is reason enough to get Attack & Release. This is by far their best album to date.—Arlie Carstens