Blues-rockers the Black Keys, thanks to their big-stage breakthroughs Brothers and El Camino, occupy an enviable niche: one of the ever-dwindling number of unquestionably rock acts who’ve got an audience and scope larger than the back of a radio-rock playlist or an early-afternoon festival slot. Their longtime producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton is in a pretty good spot, too, working this year with on albums as entrenched as U2’s and as anticipated as Frank Ocean’s.
Burton has hinted at more of a psychedelic, loose direction for the band’s upcoming Turn Blue (the album art perhaps does more than hint), but its title track, released today, is as slick as anything off El Camino, string stabs and rattlesnake hisses and a snarl of a bass synth beneath the Keys’ hazed-over vocals all done with perfectionist precision.
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