When Jack White hears this amazing Danger Mouse-produced recording by the Black Keys, he’ll thank his lucky stars he’s got the Raconteurs to fall back on, because Attack & Release has just rendered the White Stripes completely irrelevant.
Any concerns that the Gnarls Barkley braintrust might adversely affect the riotously raw blues-rock sound cultivated by the Akron duo of Daniel Auerbach and Patrick Carney are unfounded. The gutbucket grittiness is still there, but the Black Keys are working with a much more evolved sense of song structure, dynamics, time, tension and texture, which enables them to update classic R&B and blues in creative ways while maintaining the essential Black Keys thrust.
What’s most impressive about Attack & Release is how they’ve raised their vocal and compositional game in accord with the sonic enhancements, bringing an unexpected poignancy to their earthy funkiness. Every track is a stunner.