With reports last year that The Black Keys’ guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach was in the midst of divorce woes, there’s an obvious pain on Turn Blue that sounds recent and raw.

The glam-rock good times of 2011’s El Camino still linger, but Turn Blue has taken a darker turn that perfectly articulates a simmering undercurrent of heartache.

As the slowly strummed acoustic intro of ‘Weight Of Love’ gives way to a miasmic, quavering electric solo, the track takes a moody psychedelic course that permeates this excellent eighth studio album.

Yet there’s also a compelling energy to the heartbreak, as ‘Turn Blue’ shimmers and chugs along a tightrope of disco-funk and crawling synths, underscoring the forlorn lament, “In the dead of the night I start to lose control / But I still carry the weight just like I’ve done before”.

‘Year In Review’ nicks its opening drum pattern from Kings Of Leon’s ‘Taper Jean Girl’, and melancholy lurks as Auerbach’s sings, “You can never find a soul / That’s got no pain within”, but the song rallies and morphs into a jazzy hip shaker.

The band’s trademark garage blues sound is still present, but the continuing collaboration with producer Danger Mouse leans towards a more commercial sound. If ‘Lonely Boy’ was El Camino’s dance floor filler, then ‘Fever’ is Turn Blue’s slinking, sexy, greet-the-sunrise party pleaser.

In fact, ‘Gotta Get Away’ is the record’s only oddity; a light, California easy-rock number that doesn’t pack the emotional or musical punch of the ten preceding tracks.

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Heartache is everywhere on Turn Blue, but it’s by no means a moribund affair. Catharsis in the form of swirling 70s psychedelia and slinking disco beats has yielded The Black Keys’ most interesting record to date.

Watch the video for ‘Fever’ from Turn Blue here:

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