Monday, 23 June 2008

The Last Shadow Puppets: The Age of the Understatement

There's a very sensible reason why my album reviews come several months after the release date. This is an amateur's blog, so I don't get the advanced copy of an album nicely free of charge. So, if I'm going to spend my hard earned cash on an album, I want to be convinced it's going to be a good one.

Strangely, I think I knew that The Age of the Understatement was going to be a cracking album when I knew that Alex Turner and Miles Kane were collaborating (as a surprised fan of Turner's writing in any event), and straight after hearing the lead single for the first time was convinced. That said, I've still only just got round to buying it...

The overall style of the album matches the cover of the album perfectly. It's 60s music. Guitar styled, the (often used for the duo) comparison to the Walker Brothers is exact. You can tell there's Arctic Monkeys-esque moments in there, but that's to be expected - and it's not the same band with just a slightly different line-up and the London Metropolitan Orchestra.

The ability to combine the similar voice styles or Turner and Kane should be praised. The full orchestration is well managed. It's tension building, nostalgic, and yet creative.

Obviously, it still has its failings. I think that I Don't Like You Anymore doesn't really match the rest of the album. It's not that it's a bad track, and I think it would fit perfectly fine on an Arctic Monkeys album - but it's a bit too heavy considering what's either side of it. It builds to a raucous ending, which doesn't have the same musicality I enjoy from every other track.

One also occasionally gets the feeling that they're trying a bit too hard to be the next Bond theme. The opening chords of In My Room; the Russian chorus of The Age of the Understatement - it's all a bit too obvious.

Despite that, it's not stopped from being an exceptional album. Personal favourites are Only The Truth with its full on opening; My Mistakes Were Made For You, and the latest single Standing Next to Me.

I've listened to the album several times in order to really get the mood of the work, and I've not found myself getting even slightly bored of any bits of it, which I consider the mark of a good album. I waited until I was sure I'd like it - and it was well worth the wait.

No comments: