For lovers of pop music, advance word about the new Black Keys album was a bit alarming. Guitarist-vocalist Dan Auerbach, drummer Patrick Carney and returning co-conspirator/co-producer Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton said in recent interviews that they were consciously steering themselves away from producing singles. Considering the whiz-bang accessibility (and multiple Grammy wins) of the band's last album, 2011's "El Camino," this approach seemed needlessly contrary. But it all makes sense now that "Turn Blue" is here. No, the Black Keys' eighth long player isn't loaded with obvious hits, and that's more than okay -- because this is a brave, varied and engaging collection of songs.
The nearly seven-minute opening track, "Weight of Love," suggests the band is returning to the groggy psychedelica it first explored on 2008's "Attack & Release" (and that can also be heard on Ray LaMontagne's recent "Supernova," which Auerbach produced). With three guitar solos, each one more epic and indulgent than the last, there's more than a touch of Pink Floyd in the air -- this and one later track, "Bullet in the Brain," sometimes recall "Breathe" on "Dark Side of the Moon."