CD Review: The Black Keys “Turn Blue”

20:16 26 June 2014

The Black Keys have released "Turn Blue" Photo by Danny Clinch

The Black Keys have released "Turn Blue" Photo by Danny Clinch

Danny Clinch

“Turn Blue”, The Black Keys’ eighth album, has received, for the most part, approval.

Their fourth collaboration with songwriter and producer Danger Mouse, Turn Blue presents more of a melancholy, alternative rock combination than the blues-rock feel of previous releases.

Even the album’s title exhibits its introspective tone, as it is a catchphrase used by 1960’s horror host Ghoulardi.

The change in pace has, for the majority, been considered a nice reorientation, executed well.

However a disgruntled chorus can be heard in some quarters, concerning the, at-times, absence of their trademark raw blues sound.

But, the style of lyrics The Black Keys are famed for are there, while the instruments have taken up a more alternative feel.

This doesn’t take away from the quality of the album, though.

Stand-out songs include “It’s Up to You Now”, which includes a guitar segment that has that original raw feeling; “Weight of Love”, featuring a scintillating guitar solo, and “Bullet In the Brain”, with psychedelic electronics and lyrics that truly captivate the lugubrious feel of the album.

Although it’s not entirely the ‘old’ Black Keys, Turn Blue provides a good listening experience, and songs that will grow on you.

Turn Blue was recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, with additional recording done at the Key Club in Benton Harbor, MI and Auerback’s Easy Eye Sound in Nashville.

Of the new album, the band says Turn Blue could refer to: suffocation, sadness, numbness from extreme cold, a Cleveland late night TV host from the 1960s, called Ghoulardi, or all of these listed.

Patrick Carney says: “We are always trying to push ourselves when we make a record, not repeat our previous work, but not abandon it either. On this record we let the songs breathe and explored moods, textures and sounds.”

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