Release Date: Apr 1, 2016
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
On its debut LP, 2008’s The Age of the Understatement, English baroque pop duo the Last Shadow Puppets crafted an infectiously melodic and luscious gem bursting with vintage ‘60s allure. Considering that its core members, Alex Turner and Miles Kane, hailed from two of the modern scene’s most respected bands (Arctic Monkeys and the Rascals, respectively), that wasn’t too surprising; still, the way they captured the British Invasion vibe so perfectly warranted plenty of acclaim. Fortunately, the same holds [mostly] true on its long-awaited follow-up, Everything You’ve Come to Expect.
There is no lift-off: we're only aware that we've been flying. The sound that opens Everything You've Come To Expect, the long-demanded follow-up to The Last Shadow Puppets' 2008 debut, is a conscious callback to The Age of the Understatement's eponymous opener, which sounded like the gathering of a locust plague and set a pace sustained through the rest of the album. Aviation, by contrast, is part slasher flick lurch and part jet engine thrum, which leaves space for the strange shapes and sounds to follow.
The lyrics, devilishly wedded to their echo-chamber-laden arrangements and sneering Bowie-esque croons, play like coded spells set to music. Part of the Last Shadow Puppets pop magic is the wry sense of humor that keeps their obsessions (namely femme fatales and the things men do to get over them) from ever getting too self-serious. As they sing on the sinister punk mariachi groover, "Bad Habits," "Should have known little girl that you'd do me wrong." Utterly infectious and rife with sexual desire, the track stands out as one of most aggressive and unforgettable on the album.
In the six years since hooking up for no-strings-attached retro fun with The Age Of The Understatement, Alex Turner and Miles Kane’s schedules have become far fuller with Kane’s solo career kicking off while Turner’s day-job with the Arctic Monkeys has hit new levels with AM’s repurposing of the deep grooves and cute vocal tics of modern R’n’B for the indie dancefloor. It’s clear then, that their reunion is for the right reasons. Everything You’ve Cone To Expect expands the horizons of its rather pastiche-heavy predecessor, encompassing garage rock (Bad Habits), lilting “White Album”-eseque ditties (the exceptional ear-worm title track) and high-kicking cabaret showstoppers (Sweet Dreams, TN).
In any case, the standout moments tend to be the softer, sweeter ones, with Turner putting that sardonic croon to good use on ‘Sweet Dreams, TN’ and the surreal ‘The Dream Synopsis’, while the honeyed soul-pop of ‘Miracle Aligner’ and ‘The Element Of Surprise’ sound custom-made for sunset cruises along the Pacific Coast Highway. These days, Turner and Kane are a far cry from the doe-eyed 22-year-olds who made ‘The Age Of The Understatement’, but as a partnership they continue to provoke intriguing responses from each other, with Kane upping his game significantly from his last solo record and Turner seemingly less inclined to couch himself in irony. This album isn’t quite what we’ve come to expect from The Last Shadow Puppets, but that’s just how we like it.
It's been eight years since Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner and Miles Kane (known also for his solo work and with the trio The Rascals) released The Age of Understatement and revealed their collaboration to be more than a working holiday. And if Everything You've Come to Expect doesn't cut significantly into Turner's time with the Monkeys, it makes a strong case for a shorter wait between records than the eight years since Understatement. .
When The Last Shadow Puppets released their first album in 2008, Arctic Monkeys were two albums into their career, with enough buzz (especially in England) for the music world take note of the side project from frontman Alex Turner. Based on how Arctic Monkeys’ profile has risen to arena levels in the US (and maintained its huge status abroad) in the years since, there was little hope that Turner would find the time or interest to return to collaborator Miles Kane, in spite of the fact that Kane remained hopeful during the interim years that there would be a second album. Rounding up the rest of the players, producer/drummer James Ford and string arranger Owen Pallett, shouldn’t have proven difficult, as Ford has worked on every Arctic Monkeys album and Pallett has proven a go-to string maestro over the last decade.
The long-awaited second album by the Last Shadow Puppets has arrived, and while the duo of Miles Kane and the Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner croon once again on this record, their songs are infused with a darker, sharp edge this time around. Their smart, acerbic and elegant pop is built upon Turner's evocative lyrics and buoyed by Owen Pallett's string arrangements. Opener "Aviation" has an insistence and jangle to it that draws listeners in immediately, especially when coupled with Pallett's ominous string arrangement, while "Dracula Teeth" features warm bass juxtaposed by dark vocals depicting "threatening behaviour.
Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner has been chronicling late-night disaffection for a decade. But he's come a long way musically from the Monks' early machine-gun guitar charge. The second album he's made with buddy Miles Kane as Last Shadow Puppets is drowsily gorgeous, soft-focus California burnout, á la Beck and art-pop icon Scott Walker. "I guess the coastal air gets a girl to reflect," sings Turner (who recently moved from the U.K.
No one knew quite what to expect when Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner and Miles Kane teamed up to form The Last Shadow Puppets in 2007. Arctic Monkeys could do no wrong at the time and had just headlined Glastonbury Festival on the back of two UK Number 1 albums. Meanwhile, Kane was better known for playing guitar on the Sheffield quartet’s song 505 than he was for his bands, The Little Flames and Rascals.
It’s tempting to say that in promoting their second album as the Last Shadow Puppets, Miles Kane and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner haven’t exactly done themselves any favours. Their debut, The Age of the Understatement, was a widely acclaimed collection of string-laden ballads and melodramatic 60s pop, pleasing proof that Turner could do more than knock out smart indie disco hits about teenage life in Sheffield. Eight years on, however, things seem to have taken a different turn.
After the flammable tracksuits and leering interviews, it's easy to forget that in 2008, the Last Shadow Puppets were two shaggy-haired 22-year-olds sweetly in thrall to girls and Scott Walker. The Age of the Understatement was more ambitious than anything Alex Turner and Miles Kane had attempted before, but its lavish strings and Morricone twangs shrouded earnest devotion and no shortage of anxiety over paling in comparison to the next, more consummate lothario. "Please don't tell me, you don't have to, darling/ I can sense that he painted you a gushing sunset and slayed a few panthers in your defence," Turner sang on "Separate and Ever Deadly.
Review Summary: Should've known that you'd do me wrong, should've known by the way you were showing offMaturity. That’s the buzzword that’s being tossed around in reference to The Last Shadow Puppets’ highly anticipated sophomore release, and it’s a massive pet peeve of mine. Go check almost any review of this record, and you’ll see the term carelessly strewn about in a positive context, as if to imply that The Age of The Understatement was inherently juvenile pop and this is the record that finally sees the band get it together.
A lot can happen in eight years. Just Ask Alex Turner. Since 2008 the Brylcreem-loving Arctic Monkeys frontman has transformed from plucky youngster with a knack for writing a good rhyming couplet into some sort of tax-loophole-licking rock'n'roll cringe machine. On the flipside, for some people, not much can happen in eight years.
“Sophistication” has always been the selling point of Arctic Monkey Alex Turner’s side project with Miles Kane, for which read “60s strings”. Their second album fulfils the premise of its title with more ravishing arrangements by Owen Pallett, while leaning less on the Scott Walker/Morricone stylings that gave their 2008 debut a whiff of pastiche. The impression that Turner and Kane are soundtracking some kind of ironic double-bro-seven flick in their heads remains, however (not eased by Kane’s recent sleazy behaviour towards a female journalist), only partly tempered by Turner’s nuanced lyrics.
Terrible twosomes don’t come as jack-the-lad as Arctic Monkeys frontrunner Alex Turner and ‘I-used-to-be-in-a-band-too-guys’ champion of seediness Miles Kane. The archetypal ‘bromance’, while their CVs might be chalk and cheddar, get them together and they’re two blocks of stinky stilton cuddling up on a metaphorical cheeseboard of 60s nostalgia. The Last Shadow Puppets, the pair’s joint musical outlet, was previously resigned to the bargain bin of early 00s indie excess.
Our latest installment of Quick Takes may be up a little bit later than usual, but bear with us - with so many surprise releases, from Radiohead to James Blake to Drake, we've been just as overwhelmed as all of you trying to keep up. But that doesn't stop us from acknowledging some records that we ….
Eight years ago, The Last Shadow Puppets released their debut album, The Age of the Understatement, and it came as a statement that Alex Turner, lead signer of Arctic Monkeys, was ready to step down from the pub stool pedestal that he had spent his early career spilling beer from as he spat out slurred tales of Sheffield nightlife and forgetful teenage flings. This time round, however, instead of Turner having a desire to shake up his musical pallet, their new album, Everything You’ve Come to Expect, was a match that Miles Kane lit when he finally followed Turner to Los Angeles last year. It’s hard to imagine that, via the exposure that Alex Turner’s association gave him, Kane’s solo career would have been as rewarding as it has been without the first Puppets album - it’s no wonder Kane was so keen to get the ball of the second album finally rolling.
Miles Kane, left, and Alex Turner have a new album as the Last Shadow Puppets. Miles Kane, left, and Alex Turner have a new album as the Last Shadow Puppets. In the music video for "Aviation," the first song on their new album as the Last Shadow Puppets, Alex Turner and Miles Kane play two men forced to dig what look like their own graves by a suave but sadistic crime-boss type.
YOU CAN’T ACCUSE The Last Shadow Puppets of not putting their best foot forward. “Aviation”, the power house track that opens the baroque Brit-pop duo’s second album, Everything You’ve Come to Expect, is also the LP’s most satisfying listen. Its opening moments of dissonance give way to a sly guitar riff and a dramatic string arrangement that drive the song and give it an almost cinematic quality.
As a duo, Alex Turner and Miles Kane get to play dress up. Turner spends most of his time fronting Arctic Monkeys, so The Last Shadow Puppets is his part-time job, a new guise to throw on and trot around in. Kane, equal partner in the effort, gets to don a sharp [track]suit too. Throughout their second album, that performative style and the awareness thereof supersedes any substance: poor actors with a shit script.