ALBUM REVIEW: Black Keys ‘Turn Blue’

After monumental success with their last album ‘El Camino’, with it achieving double-platinum status In three countries (Australia, Canada, and New Zealand)  – and platinum in the US, UK, and Ireland, the Black Keys are back with their eighth studio album ‘Turn Blue’, produced by Danger Mouse once again.

It may be twelve long years since the duo from Ohio burst onto the music scene with a mixture of old-time well respected blues influence, gracefully yet deeply merging with almost as much fuzz and overdrive as the blues could handle, in the form of their debut album, ‘The Big Come Up’. A lot has changed in those twelve years, including the sound through which the Black Keys are taking direction.

If you’ve been living under a rock recently, you will be knowledgably blind to the vast sense of scepticism surrounding the Key’s new album, with many harshly criticising the band for their shift in direction and consequently a shift in sound.  One thing that has noticeably changed in ‘Turn Blue’ is the overall pace that accompanies the lesser amount of fuzz and drive throughout. I hate to be the bearer of bad news to some lovers of the brilliance that is the Black Keys, but no relentlessly turbo- charged songs, similar to that of critically acclaimed ‘Lonely Boy’ or ‘Gold On The Ceiling’ from ‘El Camino’ and ‘I Got Mine’ and ‘Strange Times’ from ‘Attack And Release’, can be found on this album.

Although this may the case, the album does conjure up some different aspects of which the Black Keys’ have to offer. This album undoubtedly focuses on lyrical work with increased recognition towards bass out of any other instruments, it must be said, not much daringness has been considered in terms of guitar work, although daringness has definitely been fulfilled whilst considering this sudden shift in sound. In typical style, Carney, the drummer of the duo who somewhat always manages to find himself surrounded by controversy (recently including a very well publicised spat with Justin Bieber) stated in an interview that the band wouldn’t ever “consider changing their sound to achieve success to satisfy people in a commercial manner like their good friends in Kings Of Leon”, the band seem to be willing to change their own sound, but only for their own satisfaction, they clearly understand the consequences and still take the risk, which is somewhat more respectable than bands who are willing to conform to the industry just to maximise their profit.

All this being said, it is definitely not all doom and gloom for the thousands of fans of the Black Keys. If ‘Turn Blue’ had to be compared to any other past piece of work from the band it would be the album ‘Brothers’, also with a hint of lead singer and guitarists Dan Aurbech’s solo album ‘Keep It Hidden’, which although caused massive friction between himself and Carney for a short amount of time, was brilliant in its own right. If there was to be a gem in this album it would undoubtedly be the first single taken from it, ‘Fever’, which may become a favourite for many in the band’s arsenal.

Many fans of the Black Key’s will get the chance to see them throughout the summer during many festivals such as Glastonbury, with the Key’s securing themselves a prestigious place on the pyramid stage alongside the likes of Jack White, Metallica and Kasabian and this year’s festival, and also festivals such as Rock Werchter and BilbaoBBKLive just to name a few. Any fans who aren’t able to catch the innovative brilliance of the duo will seemingly also get another chance with speculation of a European tour as the second leg of their Turn Blue World Tour, with the first leg taking place In the US with Jake Bugg supporting.

‘Turn Blue’

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

James Cummins.

James Cummins

James Cummins

James Cummins

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