The Black Keys Attack & Release

The back story to this latest effort by the Akron, OH guitar/drums duo was irresistible: Danger Mouse asked them to back up Ike Turner for a proposed comeback album. But when old Ike passed on, Danger Mouse followed through by making this album, the Black Keys’ first with an outside producer. So, does the experiment pay off? Sort of. Attack & Release is certainly the Black Keys sounding like a full band more than ever before, thanks to DM’s subtle touches of keyboards and a broader range of tones. The trade-off is a loss of much of their patented bite. While this helps bring out more of Dan Auerbach’s underrated soulful vocals, especially on the stellar "Lies,” those wishing for the bone-crushing riffs of the band’s previous efforts will undoubtedly be disappointed. It was inevitable that the Black Keys would have to test their limits with an album like Attack & Release, but it’s safe to assume that they’ll be back in their basement next time around, especially if they know what’s good for them. (Nonesuch/Warner)