The Black Keys Are Back With “Fever”

Slate's Culture Blog
March 24 2014 4:33 PM

The Black Keys Are Back With “Fever”

153056984-patrick-carney-and-dan-auerbach-of-the-black-keys
The Black Keys add another dimension to their sound with "Fever."

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for the Global Citizen Festival

In the roughly two and a half years since The Black Keys’ El Camino—the longest break they’ve ever taken between albums—Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney haven’t exactly been on a sabbatical from music.* For his work on El Camino as well as projects with Dr. John and Hacienda, Auerbach picked up the 2013 Grammy for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. Carney, meanwhile, has held his own as a producer, collaborating with Tennis, The Sheepdogs, and most recently the Black Lips on their new album Underneath the Rainbow.

Despite a full plate of side-projects, the duo confirmed last Friday in highly peculiar fashion, via Mike Tyson’s Twitter, that their next album Turn Blue is on the way and due May 13. “Fever,” which the band shared today, marks the first listen from that album, and it’s quite the departure from their staple danceable blues-rock, though it’s no less infectious. Bringing a moody, psychedelic groove, the bass-heavy mid-tempo track builds off the strength of Auerbach’s voice as he begs for release from an unshakeable fever: “Fever got me guilty/ Just go ahead and kill me.”

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The band’s press release tells us that the 11-track album will include outside production from Danger Mouse and hints that the title 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; E: All of the above.” See if you can make any sense of those clues by listening to “Fever” above.

*Correction, March 24: This article originally stated that it has been four years since El Camino. That album was released Dec. 6, 2011, which is less than three years ago.

Dee Lockett is Slate's editorial assistant for culture.