The Austin Chronicle

Phases & Stages

Reviewed by Luke Winkie, June 20, 2014, Music

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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