The Black Keys – “Fever”

Chris DeVille | March 24, 2014 - 1:31 pm

Two and a half years is a pretty standard interim between albums for major rock acts, but preeminent blooz rockers the Black Keys have never gone longer between albums than the gap between the December 2011 release of El Camino and the impending May 2014 arrival of Turn Blue. For the Keys, it’s been an eternity, but one well-spent. Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach applied his production talents to artists ranging from Dr. John to Grace Potter & The Nocturnals to JEFF The Brotherhood, earning himself a Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical Grammy and the chance to oversee major 2014 projects by Lana Del Rey and Ray LaMontagne. He also managed to raise Jack White’s ire like no other. Keys drummer Patrick Carney has dabbled in some side projects of his own, producing for the Sheepdogs and Black Lips and drumming on every track of the forthcoming Rentals comeback LP. And if his production career hasn’t been quite as illustrious as Auerbach’s, his beef game is unmatched — just ask Nickelback, Van Halen, and especially the Beliebers.

All those extracurriculars are well and good, but Auerbach and Carney are best when teaming up to crank out classic rock of modern vintage. “Fever,” the first single from Turn Blue, presents their latest tweak to that formula. Built on slinky bass, piercing keyboards, and soulful, echo-laden falsetto, this could almost pass for new wave, but it’s still steeped in the rock ‘n’ roll tradition that has been the Keys’ anchor since the beginning. The result is unlike any Keys song we’ve heard before — and for a band that has done its best work by expanding its horizons, that’s a good thing. Hear it below.

Regarding the album title, in press materials the Black Keys note that Turn Blue could refer to: A: Suffocation, B: Sadness, C: Numbness from extreme cold, D: A Cleveland late night TV host from the 1960s named Ghoulardi, or E: All of the above.

Turn Blue, which was produced by the band with Danger Mouse, is out 5/13 via Nonesuch. Here’s the tracklist:

01 “Weight Of Love”
02 “In Time”
03 “Turn Blue”
04 “Fever”
05 “Year In Review”
06 “Bullet In The Brain”
07 “It’s Up to You Now”
08 “Waiting On Words”
09 “10 Lovers”
10 “In Our Prime”
11 “Gotta Get Away”