Follow Us on Twitter

The Black Keys - Magic Potion

The Black Keys, Magic Potion

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

MAGIC Potion could well be the sound of The Black Keys – aka Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney – getting back to their roots.

In July 2002, the two college dropouts were self-confessed ‘horticultural technicians’ working together for an Akron, Ohio property owner.

In between mowing lawns and administering weed-whacker, Dan and Patrick played together in a band and did much of their recording in a basement.

Cut to early 2006 and The Black Keys returned to their basement to lay down tracks for Magic Potion, their fourth full-length LP.

The result is an extremely stripped down affair that could, quite possibly, mark their grittiest work yet.

It bears many of the band’s signature sounds, from gutsy guitars to rock ‘n’ roll/blues vocals – but feels more akin to an early White Stripes offering than the fourth long-player of a distinguished career.

The sound is altogether more gutsier and intense, thriving on the back-to-basics formula provided by their recording environment.

Tracks to look out for include the low-key slow-burner You’re The One, a lazy, narcotic devotional ballad that positively drips with quality. It’s delicate riffs still manage to retain a gritty edge, while the blissful vocals quite possibly mark the duo at their very best.

Such moments are in stark contrast to the gutsy ‘70s-laced heavier riffs that mark tracks like the sweaty Your Touch or the throaty, forebording Just A Little Heat, which positively steams its way out of the stereo like a summer heatwave. You can practically smell the sweat.

Elsewhere, Strange Desire is a slightly more upbeat rock ‘n’ roller of pent-up frustration that gives way into the sort of retro-guitar riffs that the likes of Hendrix and Zeppelin made their own.

The blues-soaked The Flame is another charmer, coated in thick, husky smoke-filled lyrics and another slow-burning approach that Clapton would be proud to call his own.

While Black Door draws things to a close in supremely fiesty fashion courtesy of its foot-stomping riffs, stop-start approach and overall ‘70s haze.

Needless to say, rock ‘n’ roll fans who spend their days professing that bands don’t cut them like they used to will get a very large kick out of this Magic Potion.

Fans of all the aforementioned influences will enjoy the nostalgia trip it provides, while fans of the Black Keys themselves will doubtless hail it as their masterpiece.

Track listing:

  1. Just Got To Be
  2. Your Touch
  3. You’re The One
  4. Just A Little Heat
  5. Give Your Heart Away
  6. Strange Desire
  7. Modern Times
  8. Flame
  9. Goodbye Babylon
  10. Black Door
  11. Elevator