The Black Keys – Attack and Release

Posted: July 7, 2009 in music, reviews, rock n roll

I often wonder how blues/rock or, so called, blues/punk bands establish themselves as more than just a two man or (man/woman) lo/fi, do it-yourself garage band… in this ever growing industry of popular octane-rock wannabes like Nickelback, Puddle of Mudd, and Seether. Reverberation, dirty gritty blues riffs, and an unglossed voice are a few of the requirements, for certain. But since “Attack and Release” hit me, more than a year after it’s release, (yes, I have excuses) I have found it absolutely impossible to fritter away my awe of this ‘new to me’ Black Keys album.

Unlike the bands before them, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney really seem to carry the feel of the blues with every album instead of letting the ol‘ fashion nuances become muddled in the proverbial waters of mixed genres. I somehow keep thinking of a particular set of lyrics from the blues legend, Little Walter, that seem to correspond with the ‘I’ve seen better days’ feel of the album… Something like knowing love and happiness but only after looking back on it from the morose and nostalgic present.

Please don’t take all of my lyrical gushing and praising as simply another of my ephemeral, short lived obsessions… this album really IS, in my opinion, their most compelling and refined to date… all the while maintaining the same anti-establishment steel plated garage rock heart with the big ol‘ dirty beats of Strange Times, and I Got Mine. And the crescendo opening of Psychotic Girl lays down a thick veil of ambiance, with it’s picked at banjo, and chilly piano interruptions, combining effortlessly with Auerbachs moaning proclamations…the very same effortless ambiance that runs deep throughout the entire album.

I Got to Find My Baby
(for comparison)
by Little Walter/BB King
Well I hate to see the sun sets in the West
‘Cos I know my whole life gonna be a solid mess
I got to find my baby I declare well I
I ain’t had no real good lovin‘ since my gal said goodbye

Well, I walked this town from door to door
Gal I love can’t find no more
I got to find my baby I declare well I
I ain’t had no real good lovin‘ since my gal said goodbye

Well I’ve looked all around trying to find me a wife
I got to find my big legged brownskin share the rest of my life
I got to find my baby I declare well I
I ain’t had no real good lovin‘ since my gal said goodbye

Now take a look at some Keys lyrics:

Same Old Thing:
Same Old thing
It don’t matter where you’ve been
The people try to do you in
Everyday till dawn
There’s some thieving going on
Oh…
Oh no…
And he sung…?
Just the same old thing
Just the same old thing
No matter how much love you try to ban
Just the same old thing
You gotta count as hard
From being torn apart
Now you labor everyday
Love life dreamt away
Oh….
Oh no…
And It needs on…?
Just the same old thing
Just the same old thing
No matter how much love you try to bring
Just the same old thing

And my personal favorite from and increasingly irresistible line up of songs:

Oceans and Streams:
With guilt that no man should carry
Heavy enough for me to get buried
I feel death on the road tonight
It’s got me to where I wanna run and hide

Oh I used to dream
of oceans and streams
Flowing and growing strong
Where have all
Those days gone

These days I’m so slow
All these thoughts and no where to go
My aim used to be so true
And my world had a place in it just for you

Oh I used to dream
of oceans and streams
Flowing and growing strong
Where have all
Those days gone

Excuse me I gotta go
Can’t stand to be here anymore, no
I’m sick and I gotta go to bed
If I stay here I’m better off dead

Oh I used to dream
of oceans and streams
Flowing and growing strong
Where have all
Those days gone

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