cd reviews pop/rock
The Black Keys, "Attack & Release" (Nonesuch)
Black Keys fans expecting another trip to a Mississippi juke joint are instead headed to a Memphis R&B lounge. The ghost of the late Ike Turner infuses this CD, which is much different from the Keys' previous raw and raucous releases. Spooky, sedate and moody, the disc is the remains of a project that guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney were working on with Turner (who died in December) and producer Danger Mouse. It's intriguing at times and moving at others and answers the eternal question about the Keys: What would they sound like with more than two members? Danger Mouse's fingerprints are all over the place, from the funky chorus of ghosts on "I Got Mine" to the banjo on "Psychotic Girl" to the Jethro Tull flute and Sly and the Family Stone touches on "Same Old Thing." Like the best producers, Danger Mouse left his beat-friendly comfort zone and met the Keys halfway, preserving their sound, but enhancing it as well. The Keys perform Friday at First Avenue in Minneapolis. 5311
CHRIS TALBOTT, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Nine Inch Nails, "Ghosts I-IV" (Null)
There's a fine line between genius and madness. NIN's Trent Reznor has usually walked on the genius side, thanks to such albums as "The Downward Spiral" and "The Fragile." "Ghosts I-IV" may make some wonder whether the industrial noisemaker has walked off the deep end. The album consists of 36 instrumental tracks, each with a number, not a name. Some of it is minimalistic and ambient, while other moments find Reznor shifting moods and textures into that dark industrial territory that offers noise, distortion, banging percussion, chaos and churning aggression. Some of it is just plain bizarre, such as the crushing "4," and some of it is coolness exemplified, such as the sparse blend of piano and percussion on "9." Sometimes NIN totally locks into an actual groove, such as the throbbing, buzzing noise-fest of "14," featuring guitar great Adrian Belew. Still, there's a saturation point with this stuff. Despite the mood shifts, there's not enough to give the album consistent clarity or vitality. NIN performs Aug. 2 at Target Center. 5312
KEVIN O'HARE, NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE
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