Music Review: The Last Shadow Puppets

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Adel Saafan

The Last Shadow Puppets: now that’s an interesting name for a band. Just on the name itself, you’re just scratching your head thinking of the question “what kind of music do they make?” For those who are unfamiliar with this group, music fans and listeners might recognize one of the two co-frontmen’s voices. One member of the duo, Alex Turner, is the lead singer/guitarist for the rock band Arctic Monkeys. The other member is Miles Kane, a solo rock artist who has been a frequent music collaborator with Turner. Back in 2008, The Last Shadow Puppets released their first album The Age of the Understatement. The album featured sixties psychedelic rock, baroque pop influences which were heavily mixed with symphonic orchestras. The album was well received by music critics and debuted at #1 on the UK Album Chart. After a small tour to support the release of The Age of the Understatement, both musicians focused on their primary music priorities, where Turner and the Arctic Monkeys released 3 albums and toured extensively for each album. On the other hand, Kane left his band The Rascals to focus on a solo career and released two albums.

Fast-forward 8 years and The Last Shadow Puppets are back with a brand new album entitled Everything You’ve Come to Expect. The album incorporates a vintage sound just like its predecessor. There’s a mix of psychedelic rock along with sweeping, cinematic string arrangements. The songs are infused with seventies rock and soul. The opening track Aviation sets the tone for the album, where the guitars and stringed orchestra create a sound of suspense. The listener is engaged and is left in a state of curiosity in what to expect next. Fortunately, the remaining songs don’t stray too far away from the tone of the opening track. There are some heavy Beatles influences in some songs. The vocal harmonies between Turner and Kane could be compared alongside Paul McCartney and John Lennon. The title track of the album is a serene track that incorporates soothing harmonies and carousel horns, which gives off a Sgt. Pepper’s vibe. Simmery, soulful songs such as Dracula Teeth, Miracle Aligner and The Element of Surprise sound perfect for when cruising in your car during a sunset. Bad Habits and Used to Be My Girl have those alternative rock, heavier guitar riffs that sound like they could pass off as Arctic Monkeys throwaway tracks. Aside from the music, the lyrics seem to be a little forgettable. The lyrics seem to get lost in the mix of the acoustic guitar and stringed instrumentation.

Overall, the album is a great output for the duo. Following up an album for a side project is very tough, especially how this album was released nearly a decade after their first album where expectations are typically higher. The sound of rock music has evolved over the past decade, yet this album sounds like it fits well in today’s rock landscape. Fans of the duo have an idea of what their sound is like from their previous album and would assume that this new album would sound similar to the first, which is safe to say not completely different from its predecessor. But to those who have never listened to the first album (or any of the two artists), they would have no clue what to expect. If a new listener were told that this duo makes rock music, then they would not be surprised to expect rock. Just like how the title of the album suggests, it would be everything that they would come to expect after all.

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