The Black Keys – Turn Blue


Album

Turn Blue

Label

Nonesuch

Year

2014

Genre

For Fans Of

The White Stripes - The Arctic Monkeys - Kasabian

Summary

A departure for the chart-topping Ohio duo.

Rating

81 / 100

The Black Keys have received widespread commercial acclaim on the back of their two previous albums, ‘Brothers’ and particularly, ‘El Camino.’ The band’s latest effort, ‘Turn Blue,’ seems to be in some ways a reaction against such success. While the album isn’t as accessible to the average listener as its predecessors, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say, in terms of quality, it is just as good, or even better! There’s no big hit singles like ‘Tighten Up’ or ‘Lonely Boy,’ but the album as a whole is a goldmine of quality material.

Opening with almost seven minutes of slow-burning excellence, which at times sounds like the calmest of oceans, and at others a storm of atmospheric reverb-driven guitars and crashing cymbals, ‘The Weight of Love’ is as epic an album opener as you would’ve expected. However, as epic as the track sounds, it also seems to highlight the almost ‘do-it-yourself’ production, which gives the record a very intimate, personal vibe.

Turn Blue,’ ‘Bullet In The Brain,’ and ‘Fever’ thrive off addictive riffs, with a strong range of instrumentation. The record may feel very much like a return to the ‘Black Keys basics’ blues/garage rock sound, but the band surely hasn’t imited themselves to this. ‘Fever’ shows a very strong and obvious euro-disco influence that sets the track apart from the rest, which makes it easy to understand just why the group chose to use the track as their lead single.

Waiting on Words’ is one of the obvious highlights. The track is arranged perfectly, with frontman Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney both locked into an incessant groove, that provides a strong backbone. However, it is Auerbach’s breathtaking falsetto vocals that really make this track fantastic.

Gotta Get Away’ closes things out with the most straight-up rock track you’ll hear on the record, and in fact feels almost unpredictable following on from the rest of the record. That doesn’t make it any less welcome though. ‘Turn Blue’ definitely feels like the type of record that needs to be listened to from start to finish, and with such a record, it’s important to finish well. Fortunately for us, there’s not a soul that could accuse The Black Keys of failing to follow through at the end of ‘Turn Blue.’

Conclusion

In some ways a departure, and in others a return to basics, ‘Turn Blue’ feels oddly familiar and yet strangely different at the same time. You wouldn’t really expect that this album will have the same commercial impact as ‘El Camino,’ but that certainly doesn’t mean that it doesn’t beat it in terms of quality!

Tracklisting

  1. Weight of Love
  2. In Time
  3. Turn Blue
  4. Fever
  5. Year in Review
  6. Bullet in the Brain
  7. It’s Up to You Now
  8. Waiting on Words
  9. 10 Lovers
  10. In Our Prime
  11. Gotta Get Away

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