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Friday, 9 May 2014 |
Following the universal success of 2011’s El Camino, it was always going to interesting to see how The Black Keys Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney approached their new release, Turn Blue. Comparing the two releases is akin to comparing apples and oranges- both full of tasty goodness for completely different reasons. As El Camino is a rocking punch to the throat, Turn Blue is moody and broods openly.
Clocking in at almost seven minutes, “Weight Of Love” could be seen as a risky opening choice, but ultimately sets the tone of the record perfectly without feeling drawn out for a second. As Auerbach laments “I used to think that darlin’ you never did nothin'/but you were always up to somethin'”, it is apparent that there is a whole lot of hurt wrapped between those swirling guitar licks.
Lead single “Fever” charges along with a hair trigger urgency and the addition of driving synths make this one of the few songs on this record that would warrant dancefloor action, along with the foot stomping goodness of "It's Up To You Now". Titular track “Turn Blue” is more in keeping with the midtempo vibe of the album, slotting in nicely with fellow easy grooves "In Time" and "Year In Review", and quickly proves to be an earworm swathed in gentle harmonies and firm warnings.
Though Turn Blue is introspective, it never becomes morose and closer track (which has single stamped all over it) "Gotta Get Away" is an upbeat, door slamming kiss-off which high steps it's way into the nearest dive bar.
Turn Blue lacks the immediate hip shakeability factor of its predecessor, but as a slow burner it sears its place into the listeners memory. It certainly is a work that reaches its full power when played in full, rather than picked apart for single tracks.
Teaming up again with long time producer Brian Burton (Danger Mouse), Turn Blue is polished but never becomes overly slick, leaving rough edges where they should be.
An intensely personal album, Auerbach's lyrics pull no punches and at times one can't help but feel a tad voyeuristic while enjoying the fruits of a clearly painful break up. It's a haunting album that stretches the limits of fuzzy blues and infuses elements of raw rock n roll, deep bites of soul and even touches of bleary eyed disco.
Turn Blue is a genius work of heartbreaking subtlety that calls the listener over and over like a siren calls a ship to the rocks.
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