The Black Keys 

Magic Potion (Nonesuch)

Every band on the planet could use a swig of the luminescent mojo swirling in Magic Potion, the fourth LP from Akron's Black Keys, blues-rock retrofitters who deserve every decibel of their buzz. Recorded in a local basement, the duo's self-produced disc has all the depth and restraint absent in most stoner and garage rawk, all the rough texture missing from hardcore and metal, and all the grit seldom found in shiny-happy modern blues. While singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach's elemental emoting understandably gets the spotlight, you can't help but wonder how many drumheads skinsman Patrick Carney broke recording each song.

On the whole, Potion is a more tuneful album than 2004's outstanding Rubber Factory, filled with jabbing riffs you'll hum for days. Rock edges out the blues, and Auerbach's playing is bigger and fuzzier. His evolution as a frontman continues on the slinky "You're the One," a made-for-the-bedroom track that invites comparisons to Hendrix. By "Elevator," the smoky album closer, the Keys prove that their major-label debut is well warranted.

More by D.X. Ferris


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