Release Date: May 31, 2011
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
I imagine that the majority of DiS's readership will have heard of the titular film for which Arctic Monkey Alex Turner has written these songs. But for those not in the know, the film concerns the coming-of-age of a quirky 15-year-old boy, his relationship with his enigmatic girlfriend and the imminent collapse of his parents' marriage against the backdrop of Eighties Swansea. It's the feature film directorial début of Richard Ayoade, probably best known as Moss from the IT Crowd, although for this writer most fondly known as Dean Learner (“club owner, celebrity manager, restaurateur, entrepreneur and publisher of high-class gentlemen’s magazines”) from Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.
Bright eyed, tousle-headed, with a look halfway between penitence and innocence, Submarine star Craig Roberts stares back at you from the cover of Alex Turner's soundtrack to the buzzy indie comedy. The two make quite a pair; young Roberts looks a bit like Turner did when we first met him and the Arctic Monkeys five years ago. But Turner's not a young man anymore, and over the years, the the cynical smirk with which he greeted everything on those early Arctics records has threatened to turn to a scowl.
Review Summary: A little insubstantial but charming enough to get by.If you haven’t seen Submarine yet, and unless you happened to drop by a film festival in the past couple of months that’s probably the case, it’s a wonderful little coming-of-age film that flickers along like something from the mind of a British Wes Anderson. Given the man behind the lens, Richard Ayoade of I.T. Crowd and Mighty Boosh fame, could very well become the British Wes Anderson (if British film critics are to be believed, although you’re always the frontrunner when there isn’t any competition), you’d be forgiven for looking to his soundtrack for an indication of how in tune Ayoade is with his American counterpart (/peer/idol?).
Alex Turner's soundtrack to Submarine, the first film by director Richard Ayoade, finds the Arctic Monkeys frontman exploring yet another avenue that’s quite different from his regular gig. With the Last Shadow Puppets, Turner had the chance to explore Baroque ‘60s pop, and here he gets intimate, often just strumming his guitar and singing on his own, and when the horizons do open up on “Stuck on the Puzzle” and “Piledriver Waltz,” the proceedings are on a smaller scale, containing none of the word-twisting frenzy of the Monkeys at their peak. Turner walks a fine line of providing hushed mood music for a film, and delving into someplace deeper; his tunes aren’t mere background music, yet there’s a casualness to his Submarine songs that keeps them from truly resonating.
Every good rock and roll band is capable of pushing the limits toward polar extremities. This was especially true during the golden age of classic rock. Zeppelin moved from the shakiest of harsh on “Whole Lotta Love” to the soft beauty of “Going to California”. The Beatles were capable of both the blisters-on-my-fingers “Helter Skelter” and the spacey, simple “Across the Universe”.
Songs that woozily sway between all-out romance and magpie-eyed reality. Fraser McAlpine 2011 When considering this man's work, and his unrivalled ear for making words fall over themselves into a giddy heap, it’s too easy to just quote the lyrics and sit back, knowing a thing has been stated gloriously, and basking in the glow of a job well done. After all, anyone who can sell a line like "If you’re gonna try and walk on water make sure you wear your comfortable shoes" is someone who needs no puffing up.