Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Week 28

Turn Blue by The Black Keys

I've only recently been a Black Keys fan, but in only a few months they've moved right up my most played list into the top 20. For being a duo, The Keys have always impressed with their garage-rockified blues. Turn Blue does not disappoint. Or maybe it does.

The opener "Weight of Love" is to me, what The Keys do best: rock. Six-plus minutes of crunchy, wailing, thunderous blues rock. This one sounds like it would end a live set, but instead they come out swinging on the first track!

Next up is "In Time." This one begins in a pretty cool way, but for me that's where the fun stops. Haunting falsettos combining with some tasty groovin' give way to more pseudo-Timberlake ranging that doesn't do much for me. It may be because this one follows such an awesome rock tune, but regardless, not a fan.

The album's title track falls in at the third spot here. Killer tune. Check it.

Following "Turn Blue," we get "Fever" which certainly offers some Danger Mouse production influence. The Keys get away from their straight ahead blues rock sound of yesteryear for a Killers-esque thing with some funky effects from the synth, but overall I think I can dig it. 

Track five is "Year in Review." Just like "Fever," this one has a different sound and while I don't like it personally, it's refreshing. I'm reminded of RHCP's Stadium Arcadium in the way it gets away from their 'normal' sound. You can decide for yourself.

Ah yes, "Bullet in the Brain." Moses Mayfield meets Foster the People who are secretly holding hands with U2. Don't let the chill acoustic guitar intro fool you - the fun hits just after the 1:00 mark, and then again at 2:00. Lots of angst and driving electric guitar to remind you of what band you're listening to. Don't even get me started on the content.

"It's Up to You Now," is next and honestly, I toe the line on this one. I like the indifferent attitude portrayed here, but the way in which it's delivered: meh. The Mofro sound of the verses is so-so. I do dig on the half-time guitar solo, but it's gonna take more than that to sell me. 

Next up is "Waitin' on Words." Nope. And that's comin' from a guy who is a sucker for some B3.

Been waiting a few tracks now for some retro Black Keys and "10 Lovers" finally delivers. Bumpin' bass, healthy 2s and 4s and some well layered guitar/synth set a groovy stage for this track. Gimme the throwbacks! Even if the synth leads are a little more prevalent than I'd like. 

Next to last is "In Our Prime." This tune has grown on me. At first it had a very indie/blues/alt sound that sounded like the dime-a-dozen groups who are all over the radio. But between the tempo changes, different distortion pedals, and funky guitar solos, I think I can dig.

The record's closer is another throwback that brings this up-and-down album to a safe ending. The sound they went for would be just as appropriate on a Steve Miller Band record as it would here. It's got the same upbeat, new-school-meets-old sound that guys like Gary Clark Jr. and The Dirty Guv'nahs are pursuing. You can't help but drum on the steering wheel when this one comes on. 

All in all, this record is hit or miss to me. The Keys have established a very specific sound that you don't get much of on this record. That's not to say it's bad, but it could be a disappointment for those expecting more of the same a la Brothers or Magic Potion.

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