Turn Blue – The Black Keys

Following on from the phenomenal 2011 album release of ‘El Camino’, blues-rock duo The Black Keys return with their eight studio album effort titled ‘Turn Blue’. The bands’ new album seems to stray away from the hard rock of the bands’ previous effort, instead offering for a much more subtle and somewhat moodier texture. The subtleties of ‘Turn Blue’ result in one of The Black Keys’ most interesting albums in their current repertoire, broadening their creative talents in terms of how they can present their style, and what they can do with it. ‘Turn Blue’ might come across as a polarizing album in some ways, especially to those enamored by the hard rock style of the bands’ previous efforts.

Much of ‘Turn Blue’ is made up of building up the music at a much slower pace than what we might be used to from The Black Keys. This somewhat slower style of music from the band isn’t exactly unheard of, though it seems the whole album is dominated by it, making it a very interesting yet polarizing album. There’s still some wonderful songs present on the album, many of which are incredibly hard not to enjoy. ‘Turn Blue’ still features some of the infectious blues riffs that have established The Black Keys career, featured alongside some brilliant musical textures and ideas. There’s a lot that is actually happening on ‘Turn Blue’, though most of its effects are definitely more subtle and subdued.

The main criticism of ‘Turn Blue’ is definitely in how it is a much more calmer album effort. With the definite exception of the album’s closing track, most of the music on ‘Turn Blue’ is dominated by building up the musical elements slowly, not going for heavy chords and blues riffs. It’s all enjoyable in its own way, but there is a disappointing element that there’s nothing to truly indulge in, like bands previous singles of ‘Gold On The Ceiling’, ‘Lonely Boy’ and ‘Tighten Up’. Nearly everything on ‘Turn Blue’ is quieter and calmer, resulting in an album of tracks that perhaps don’t stand out as much as some of the bands’ most well known singles.

In some ways, it’s good that The Black Keys haven’t opted to repeat their previous success, and instead have allowed themselves to build up new success with some new and different efforts. ‘Turn Blue’ features some brilliant songs, which are all indulgent in their own way. It’s certainly a polarizing effort, but perhaps it is polarizing for all the right reasons. It shows that The Black Keys aren’t just a one trick pony (not that they ever where), and that they have a lot of creative ideas and talents under their belts. Maybe we’ll see more material like ‘Turn Blue’ in the future, maybe we won’t. At least we can enjoy the fact that The Black Keys can and have expanded themselves in terms of what they can offer.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Weight Of Love
  • In Time
  • It’s Up To You Now
  • In Our Prime

The Black Key’s eighth studio album ‘Turn Blue’ is set for release on 12th May 2014.

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