If Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are feeling any pressure about ascending to the major leagues with their debut on Warner Bros. affiliate Nonesuch, they certainly don’t show it on Magic Potion, a taut, restless collection that cements their status as blues torchbearers for a generation of kids that wouldn’t know R.L. Burnside if he rose from the dead and slapped an iPod out of their hands. More powerful than a determined quartet and more intense than the most focused trio, this duo pounds out more raw blues-rock, channeling a pain and brilliance that belies their relative youth and one that makes for mind-altering listening. Cutting close to the bone and unleashing some of the most gloriously dirty riffs this side of vintage Junior Kimbrough, Magic Potion continues the fuzzed-out bliss of the duo’s previous long-players and picks up the thread of this year’s Kimbrough-steeped Chulahoma EP. The unrelenting savagery with which Auerbach and Carney attack these 11 tracks echoes their justly acclaimed live performances, which sound fuller and more bombastic than a drummer and guitarist have any right to; from the swinging, slashing “Give Your Heart Away” to the stuttering “Strange Desire” to the sex-drenched “Your Touch,” The Black Keys punch out one future classic after another, clattering, crashing, and eviscerating your senses. Magic Potion, one of 2006’s most potent releases, will leave you throttled and thrilled—and you might need to replace your smoldering speakers.
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