The number one rule for races is to never use up all your energy at once. For the Miles Kane and Alex Turner duo The Last Shadow Puppets, their latest album is a marathon they’ve been preparing for the better part of 8 years and they’ve not been sitting on their arses while waiting.
Miles Kane is no longer “that guy who hangs about with that bloke from Arctic Monkeys” and Alex Turner has went from Sheffield superstar to international icon, meaning that both are bringing a lot to the table to craft what should be the best British follow up LP this decade. Unfortunately, we get an LP that blows its load as soon as it dashes out the gate, often becoming a parody of itself thereafter.
The aforementioned glory moment of Everything You’ve Came To Expect comes in the form of Aviation, a track that displays any remnants of the band who graced the music scene in 2008 as a refreshing new act. The cunningly crafty guitar riffs that start off the track pair up nicely with Owen Pallett’s gargantuan and dynamic string arrangements which set the scene well, consistently being enjoyable throughout the record’s 40 minute running time.
However, the rest of the album seems to trip over itself with some fairly mediocre tracks such as Miracle Aligner feeling even more disappointing considering what has came before it. Bad Habits is the final nail in the coffin with repetitive and tedious instrumentals severely testing the patience of anyone who happens to come across it. Miles Kane’s vocals, while not dreadful, feel like they would better suit a track a bit more akin to the material he has released on his solo LPs rather than accompanying the mess that it does.
That’s not to say that this record is totally abhorrent as the lavish production value can only be described as impressive, giving a cinematic and theatrical tinge to certain tracks which will help to assist listeners through whatever low points the album offers. There are some gems in the latter half like Sweet Dreams, TN, an unapologetically lust drenched song that, along with the crooning vocals of Alex Turner, serves as a soothing reminder than when The Last Shadow Puppets are good, they’re really fucking good.
Unfortunately the impressive production also feels quite safe, meaning that even stand out songs can feel like they’re being limited and only steps away from the greatness achieved from their debut.The sad truth of the matter is that for all the “bromance” and banter that Kane and Turner have in their interviews, almost none of that charm seems to transfer on here which would have improved it dramatically, helping to sort out any blandness this LP has in bucketloads. What tends to be the best thing about duos is that a clash of sounds brings out something neither artist could do on their own whereas here, it feels like a sloppy Alex Turner solo project with “that guy who hangs about with that bloke from Arctic Monkeys”.
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