Those watching Mike Tyson's twitter feed carefully last week already know that The Black Keys have announced their eighth studio album, Turn Blue via the medium of a mind-bending video teaser. For those less au fait with the pronouncements of the former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion/convicted rapist turned popular culture bulwark, the album will be out on May 12 and will be preceded by mesmeric new single, Fever.
Produced by The Black Keys and Danger Mouse, Fever is one of just a couple of songs on Turn Blue to offer the same open-palmed pop smack as 2011's mega-selling El Camino. An early preview of the album reveals a more low-slung, psychedelic rock groove that's in its own way every bit as intoxicating as El Camino, while bearing out drummer Patrick Carney's recent assertion that “We are always trying to push ourselves when we make a record – not repeat our previous work but not abandon it either. On this record, we let the songs breathe and explored moods, textures and sounds. We’re excited for the world to hear Turn Blue.”
What the world hears first is a rifle shot drum beat from Carney ushering in one of those brilliant Black Keys' hefty riff-as-rhythm intros, before an irresistible Moroder-like hook played on a queasy swirling organ. It's the kind of song you fall further and further into with repeated listens.
Tipping a subtle melodic wink to Little Willie John's 1956 recording of Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell's song of the same name (as translated into chart gold by Peggy Lee, Elvis Presley, Michael Bublé an' all) The Black Keys' Fever burns not with Little Willie's passionate heat or Peggy Lee's suppressed romantic longing, but rather a wretched lovesickness. When he sings "Fever cause I'm breaking / Fever got me aching / Fever why don't you explain / Break it down again" it's hard not to think of Dan Auerbach's own – reportedly bruising – 2013 divorce. If music can bring catharsis, then it was never more needed.
Hear the hypnotic Fever here:
Fever is on sale – alone or as a free instant download with album preorders – at theblackkeys.com/turnblue. The LP, CD or digital version may also be ordered as part of ticket and T-shirt bundles at the band’s site. Digital pre-orders are available at iTunes.
The Black Keys will headline the Hangout Festival in Alabama on May 16 before embarking on an extensive European festival tour this summer.
May 16-18 Gulf Shores, AL Hangout Music Fest June 20 Neuhausen Ob Eck, Germany Southside Festival June 22 Scheessel, Germany Hurricane Festival June 24 Zagreb, Croatia Inmusic Festival June 27 St. Gallen, Switzerland Open Air St. Gallen (sold out) June 28 Beuningen, Holland Down The Rabbit Hole June 29 Glastonbury, UK Glastonbury July 2 Gdansk, Poland Open’er Festival July 4 Pas-de-Calais, France Main Square Festival July 5 Werchter, Belgium Festivalpark Werchter July 6 Belfort, France Les Eurockennes July 8 Rome, Italy Rock In Rome July 11 Lisboa, Portugal Optimus Alive July 12 Bilbao, Spain Bilbao – BBK Live July 15 Nîmes, France Festival de Nîmes July 17 Les Vieilles Charrues, France Les Vieilles Charrues July 20 Suffolk, UK Latitude Festival (additional dates to be announced)
PHOTO: Alysse Gafkjen