The Black Keys

Turn Blue (Nonesuch Records)

Phases & Stages

The Black Keys

Turn Blue (Nonesuch Records)

For all their success, the Black Keys are survivors. As modern pop skews toward flat-out EDM euphoria, the Akron duo burrows even deeper into smoky, elastic rock & roll. Catch the gently grazed guitar on the title track, replete with the dark-sunglasses blues that's made them famous. First single "Fever" serves as sequel to their most famous songs, a buttery, late-night glide taking the piss out of any and all expired White Stripes comparisons. First and foremost amongst the usual well-performed material, which Danger Mouse has polished to a mirror shine, are "10 Lovers," borrowing narrow synth from the deeply fetishized Seventies, and solemn, wheelbarrow power ballad "In Our Prime." Turn Blue pivots on such low-stakes grooves, the same ones sold so effectively to the mainstream. You could do a lot worse, but that of course is both a blessing and curse.

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