From the first gentle, languid guitar strums and shadowy keys, the new Black Keys album evokes the reaction: “Wow—very Pink Floyd.” And that feeling grows as the arrangement of track one, “Weight of Love,” unfolds in all its heavy, moody glory—even after Dan Auerbach’s vocals emerge, more than a minute in. Auerbach has said in interviews about this album that he and bandmate Patrick Carney wanted to make a “headphones album,” and Blue definitely has lots of grooves to get lost in. But there’s also hook-y rock ’n’ roll ear candy in equal measure, as on the soulful single “Fever,” and the awesomely fuzzed-out “It’s Up to You Now.” And one of the purest pleasures on this record—or any record—is the Stones-meet-T. Rex glam finale, “Gotta Get Away.” In other words, whatever you love about the Black Keys, it’s all here.
Producers: Danger Mouse, the Black Keys (except tracks 7, 11: Black Keys). Recording engineer: Kennie Takahashi. Additional engineering: Geoff Neal, Bill Skibbe, Collin Dupuis. Studios: Sunset Sound, Hollywood; Key Club, Benton Harbor, MI; Easy Eye, Nashville. Mix engineer: Tchad Blake. Mastering: Brian Lucey/Magic Garden Mastering (L.A.).