An Optical Illusion of Sound
The Black Keys’ newest album, Turn Blue, is an interesting listen, with eleven tracks that flow together cleanly and organically. However, while some songs are knock outs (“Gotta Get Away” is one), many of the songs on Turn Blue feel overworked.
Turn Blue is much different from other Keys albums, and may not be the best album for newbies to introduce themselves to Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach. This one has a much harsher tone than some of their other work. It lacks their signature strong rhythm and vocal sections that match grit and groove. This album instead feels rouder, with softer drums and fuzzier guitars. It’s even safe to say that there are songs that sound almost the same, like “Fever” and “Year in Review,” where the transition between the two is so seamless that they could be two parts of a single song.
It is almost frustrating to say that this album is part of The Black Keys’ discography, because it feels so far from it. When one thinks of this band so often it is of the focused drum and guitar/vocal duo of Auerbach and Carney, yet with Turn Blue it feels as though the band is missing important band members. Of course, Auerbach’s vocals are still clear and dominant, but Carney’s drums don’t remain front and center. Rather, they’re lost in a whirlwind of sounds.
The pink and blue optical illusion spiral is the perfect piece of cover art for Turn Blue, because it is an exact reflection of the sounds housed within. Overall, this album will intrigue any Keys fan. But if this is your first experience with the band, start with a different album.