The Black Keys

Turn Blue

Nonesuch

Jun 17, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Turn Blue I thought I'd be fine never hearing another Black Keys album again. When I was first introduced to their blues-infused indie rock nearly a decade ago, I couldn't get enough of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney crunching through raunchy riffs with a dusty, vintage swagger. But after awhile they started to wear out a little. Even through their recent Danger Mouse-produced albums, I found myself less interested in whatever they offered.

Enter Turn Blue. The follow-up to their arena-rock album El Camino (and their fourth collaboration with Danger Mouse) is lush with deeper, psych-fused tracks. If The Black Keys have spent the last decade banking on '60s nostalgia, Turn Blue follows the natural and chronological pattern into more '70s inspired prog-rock-soul territory. It's a more serious effort than El Camino, but likely won't garner the same populist reaction.

The opener "Weight of Love" treads some fairly cosmic ground, but the shtick is a little worn out by the time "Bullet in the Brain" blatantly rips off Dark Side of the Moon with a spacey guitar lick. Some other highlights include the title track, which burns through a slowed-down disco funk, and the first single "Fever." Of course, Turn Blue closes with a throwback to The Black Keys' old days, with the country-fried "Gotta Get Away."

Turn Blue takes them from their garage rock roots to new territory. New for The Black Keys, as this new psychedelic direction is something we've heard before from more creative bands. As harsh as that may sound, Turn Blue is still a step in the right direction. It tries hard enough to break away from their mold, and even if it doesn't quite nail what they were going for, it rejuvenates The Black Keys enough to warrant a few repeated listenings. (www.theblackkeys.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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