Just as I started writing a review on my favourite Black Keys album Attack & Release, I found out that they had started previewing a single from their new album Turn Blue. We’ve been waiting a long time (in Black Keys terms), 3 years since their last album, and almost a year-and-a-half since they announced they were set to release the album in March 2013 (I think they were on tour a hell of a lot).
The Keys’ last album, El Camino, was their most successful album to date, an album which dropped its more interludial tracks that were present in the previous few albums, as well as adopting a more mainstream upbeat, poppy tone. And based on this new single, Fever, they’ve just stuck to what worked commercially before. Whilst this track is good enough, it’s pretty forgettable and it’s as over-produced as tracks on the last album, in fact it could be a track cut straight from it; the problem is the band has moved away from it’s raw garage rock and classic blues foundations that put them in a league of their own in the indie-rock scene.
By the sound of it, the track tries to cram in too many components, but doesn’t really explore other structures and compositions as it’s previous albums have always strived to do in some form (even El Camino was a totally new direction from their album before that, Brothers). On El Camino alone they’ve been accused for their songs all sounding the same, and this new track doesn’t really seem to help their cause.
The Keys seem to have turned back to their more sinister tones however (read why they’re called The Black Keys in the first place); marketing for the new album has included a video of a haunting hypnotist with a kitsch-indie flavour—as if following in the footsteps of contemporary psychedelic bands such as Tame Impala—and an album cover that would look comfortable on a shelf in Urban Outfitters (if that’s not disturbing I don’t know what is). I look forward to hearing the rest of the album, and hope there are some new sounds being used in there.
The Black Keys have announced they will be appearing at Glastonbury 2014.
More info: www.theblackkeys.com