Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect
Can it really be 11 years since the Arctic Monkeys’ first single? As if a string of number one albums wasn’t enough, Alex Turner has found the time to re-activate what some of us thought was a one-off side project, The Last Shadow Puppets, with long-time pal Miles Kane. Their first album seemed to be an exercise just as much in Scott Walker-style production as it was about song-writing. The reference material here is less contrived, and the emphasis is more on the songs themselves. The lyrics give irony to the title of the album, as they are not quite what we have come to expect from Alex, and have scant connection to what you might call the real world. They are less about life and his observations on it, and are often more surreal in content. He seems to be having a ball playing with the aspect of writing lyrics he’s not always had the opportunity to indulge himself with on the Monkeys’ albums. The sound of TLSP has moved on too, perhaps the result of them both now living in LA. If their first 2007 effort was steeped in ‘60s swing, this is perhaps more of a ‘70s blue-eyed soul outing, with hints of Bond themes and some lush orchestral arrangements thrown in. There are some fascinating pieces of music here, almost dream-like at times; never more so than on the track ‘The Dream Synopsis’. Sheffield city centre is referenced in a tumbling, cascading set of images from Alex’s formative years behind the bar in The Boardwalk. The whole album is an extraordinary achievement, and all the more special as we can all feel a sense of pride in one of our own continuing to shine in the music world. Just when you might have thought Alex Turner to be at the top if his game, he has managed to achieve new greatness.