Initially planned as a collaboration between the Black Keys and Ike Turner, ATTACK AND RELEASE became solely a Black Keys project when Turner died in late 2007. Under the producing hand of Danger Mouse--who had introduced the Akron duo to Turner--ATTACK AND RELEASE continued the Keys' progression from scabrous blues avatars to elder statesmen in full command of their muse.
Bolstered by Danger Mouse's bizarro pop sensibility, the arrangements eschew heavy bluster in favor of a more expansive pallet. Signature Keys blues stomps such as "I Got Mine" and "Strange Times" are cut by soul experiments such as "Remember When (Side A)" and "Things Ain't Like They Used To Be" that emotionally unfold over patient tempos. The Black Keys always were in the vanguard of the thousands of Zep-worshipping bands, but ATTACK AND RELEASE finally puts them at the top of the heap.
Rolling Stone (p.66) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he Keys' most multicolored set: A psychedelic hybrid of vintage Southern R&B, brutish British invasion rock, and country blues..."
Rolling Stone (p.90) - Ranked #15 in Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums Of 2008 -- "You don't count the parts inside; you just dig the sum."
Spin (p.92) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Here, the Akron, Ohio twosome teams with producer Danger Mouse, who quietly unfolds in the occasional breakbeat, even adding that classic hipster signifier -- the funk flute -- to 'Same Old Thing.'"
Entertainment Weekly (p.61) - "[T]he quirks enhance the power of the desolation at the Keys' core, and prove that gut-grabbing and ear-stroking needn't be mutually exclusive." -- Grade: A-
Uncut (p.88) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The Black Keys are on the cusp of greatness....'Lies' is Motown-apeing bliss, while 'Things Ain't What They Used To Be' is a bone fide classic."
Magnet (p.98) - "[T]here's no question that singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney are proficient purveyors of heavy-duty, greased-up garage blues with a ridiculous amount of swagger."
Vibe (p.74) - "[T]he album has a pedigree -- originally written for Ike Turner, A&R now stands as a graceful marker of the legend's last planned project."
Q (Magazine) (p.126) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Danger Mouse's effect is apparent, the sparse guitar-and-drums template fleshed out with organ and banjo..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.111) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The signature raw blues sound is still there, but now it's spiced up with classic R&B, garage, country and even electronic flavours, all rich with melody and driving power."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.65) - Ranked #40 in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "[A] cascade of country-soul, heavy-psych and melancholy balladry..."
Blender (Magazine) (p.76) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]heir music often sounds broadcast from another planet. Thank indie-minded hip-hop producer for that; he fleshes out the band's bare-fisted approach..."
Pitchfork (Website) - "ATTACK AND RELEASE subtly expands the Black Keys sound....A sequence of slow burns, the record's tempos allow you to relish the details and the textures."
Clash (magazine) (p.111) - "[A] harrowingly dark yet astoundingly brilliant batch of songs..."