It’s been five years since duo Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney let something loose under the Black Keys name. Today they released a new single, “Lo/Hi,” recorded in Auerbach’s Nashville-based Easy Eye Sound studio.
The opening riffs of “Lo/Hi” are at once bright and dirty, a distinct change of pace from the psychedelic trappings of their last release, Turn Blue, in 2014. The bridges sound like they were pulled up from the bottom of a bottle, with Auerbach crooning “Nobody to love you / Nobody to care / Nobody to hug you / Nobody to answer your prayer.”
Since their last release, Auerbach and Carney have continued channeling their musical talents with separate endeavors. Besides leading The Arcs, Auerbach started his own record label. It’s produced several albums from various blues, rock and folk artists, including the soon-to-be-released posthumous LP from Leo “Bud” Welch, The Angels in Heaven Done Signed My Name.
Carney has also produced and recorded new music with a number of artists, including Canadian classic rockers The Sheepdogs. He briefly had a segment on HBO’s Vice News Tonight called “Patrick Carney’s High Standards Music Corner.” Carney even co-wrote the theme song for the hit Netflix series BoJack Horseman with his late uncle, Ralph Carney.
Though a far cry from the mellow Turn Blue, the dark tones of “Lo/Hi” still pale in comparison to earlier, gritty tracks like “When the Lights Go Out” or “Strange Times.” Still, the gospel background vocals and a peaking guitar solo give hope that future sounds from the ‘Keys get a little more Tennessee mud on their boots.