Setting into a hypnotic cruise control on an open expanse of endless highway, The Black Keys take us on a slow drive with the title track off their upcoming Turn Blue.
Following in the psychedelic footsteps of the earlier release, “Fever,” “Turn Blue” features a synergy between The Keys’ classic sound as heard in Attack and Release (2008) and some of the newer flavors that emerged in Brothers (2010) and El Camino (2011).
Droning bass, loose drum hits, and walking guitar riffs project a layered haze in which the vocals of Dan Auerbach are displayed in suspension. Swelling synthesizers create constant motion throughout the track and give added meanings to lines that go: “Like a dream I held it before my world turned blue / and the light inside would only shine for you.” The chorus slowly builds momentum with chiming guitar splashing in from the periphery, framing a gang vocal that cries out with shades of desperation that, “I really don’t think you know, that could be hell below, below / I really do hope you know, that could be hell below, below.” Delving deeper into psychological veins within these lines, messages of monotony and threats of a looming inferno light a fearful fire for the listener and hint at internal conflict where the need to run and hide overpower other emotional responses.
While still flaunting their characteristic edginess and gritty soul, there continues to be a projection of musical maturity and lyrical depth from these tastes of what is to come on Turn Blue. With such infectious tracks thus far, The Black Keys fans everywhere are sitting on the edges of their seats, drooling for more. Alas, I guess we will all just have to wait until May.