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The Black Keys

Live at the Crystal Ballroom (Nonesuch)

Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Dec. 26, 2008

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The Black Keys

Live at the Crystal Ballroom (Nonesuch)

With beat magician Danger Mouse at the controls, the Black Keys' Attack & Release proved a transformative affair, pairing the Akron, Ohio, duo's maximum Delta blues with eerily psychedelic overtones. Live in April at Portland, Ore.'s Crystal Ballroom, the Keys strip their fifth album down to its rawest essence, revealing the startling soul of opener "Same Old Thing" before steamrolling the midset trifecta of "Oceans and Streams," "Strange Times," and "Psychotic Girl." Over a well-documented 60 minutes, guitarist/singer Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney cut an endless groove of originals, peaking with Magic Potion's "Your Touch" and Hendrix nod "10 A.M. Automatic," which never fizzles but doesn't really rave up either, at least not in the British Invasion sense. Still, the Black Keys prove as dynamic as their counterpart, the White Stripes, even if the former hasn't written its "Seven Nation Army," one transcendent song that single-handedly takes everything to the next level.

**.5

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