ALBUM REVIEW: The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Came To Expect

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”.

4/10

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TRACK REVIEW: The Last Shadow Puppets – Miracle Aligner

“It’s about a yoga teacher” Alex Turner says in his Yorkshire heavy tone when Zane Lowe asks what his and long time friend Miles Kane’s latest single is about. You’d think considering the weight of the situation, promoting their upcoming second LP as the duo The Last Shadow Puppets named Everything You’ve Came To Expect, that he would take it a bit more serious but that’s arguably the charm of the Arctic Monkeys frontman: he doesn’t give a fuck.

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It’s all fine and dandy to have the care free attitude as long as you’re delivering the goods. Turner could afford that whenever AM came out as regardless of how divisive their new sound was, it sold a fuck ton meaning he could wear that slick back hair and leather jacket without breaking a sweat. Unfortunately it seems like the ego has got the best of him as we get a track that feels like a retread with very little attention paid to it.

Whilst it’s not a horrendous track by any means, Miracle Aligner evokes all the low points and issues I had with the Arctic Monkey’s last outing (slow tempo with an uninteresting vocal delivery and very little in the way of variety) and from what has been presented so far, this LP seems more like an Alex Turner solo project than a collaboration with little to know influence from Kane’s music whatsoever on here. Very safe and borderline bland, it’s a shame that years and years of waiting for The Last Shadow Puppets to return has resulted in a mess of singles which, while all different from one another, feel like this upcoming album has been rushed rather than polished.

Miles Kane and Alex Tuner of the Last Shadow Puppets.

That could arguably be the charm of this record, an album that may reek of carelessness but is fueled by two artists that have a great chemistry and work off one another. Time will tell if that’s the case but from what has been delivered so far, that third album we’ve been teased about may have to go back to the drawing board.

Fingers crossed.

Arctic Monkeys – AM

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     With four albums under their belts, many would think that Arctic Monkeys could perform a “Jay-Z” of sorts and just release a similar sounding album to anything they’ve released previously and sell millions due to the popularity the band have internationally. Thankfully, this isn’t the case and they’ve delivered quite a different album which is as stylistic as it is well made.        

Arctic Monkeys have been critically applauded since their 2005 debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not so it should be no surprise to anyone that Do I Wanna Know? is a brilliant opener that is full of fluent, romantic lines that show off the talent Turner has with “been wondering what time your heart’s still open and if so I wanna know what time it shuts” being a memorable one. Another classic stadium rocking gem for the band follows in the form of R U Mine? which features a catchy beat and strong performances from Alex, Jamie, Nick and Matt. The atmosphere soon changes though in the track One For The Roadwhich is more chilled out and this same vibe carries on to Arabella which also contains a strong chorus followed by even stronger performances on guitar which mantains the same back up vocals that are difficult not to sing along with so there should be no surprise that this is a personal favourite of mine on the record. Want It All, which should be pointed out for a great beat that’s hard not to nod your head along to in appreciation, is the preceding track to No.1 Party Anthem which is one of the more unique tracks which represents how stylistic this album is. Mad Soundscomes after this and is an average track which will most likely be lost amongst the other tracks. The same can also be said about Firesidewhich feels more filler than killer. Thankfully Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? redeems that and it’s lovely tempo and beat make it a track which is difficult not to like. Snap Out Of It features the same great vocals that can be seen on the whole of AM  as well a great beat to go with it and Knee Socks keeping up the record’s reputation of great tracks. I Wanna Be Yours retains the same chilled vibe from One For The Road and Arabella and although it is a good track, compared to the rest of the album it can be seen as being lacklustre.

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       Suck It And See is regarded by some fans of the band as one of their best pieces of work while others see it as their most dissapointing. Fortunately, this split opinion shouldn’t be the same case for AM as the band have proved themselves yet again by producing a great record that every music fan should give a listen to as even though it has a few lacklustre tracks, it’s an album that’s worth your attention.