By JESSICA PEREZ, Staff Writer
One of my favorite bands from the 2000s is, without a doubt, the Arctic Monkeys. Sadly, they don’t release music often and rarely tour the US. You can probably imagine my excitement when I learned that frontman Alex Turner is also a member of a similar alternative rock group, The Last Shadow Puppets, and that they just released a twelve-track album on April 1 (no, this wasn’t an April Fool’s joke). Thank you, music gods!
Miles Kane, a fellow English musician with a sound parallel to Turner’s, joins him on lead guitar, vocals and songwriting for The Last Shadow Puppets. Zach Dawes of Mini Mansions is the group’s bassist, while James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco plays drums and produces the records.
Everything You’ve Come to Expect is the second studio album by The Last Shadow Puppets. It’s been eight years since their debut LP, The Age of the Understatement.
“Bad Habits” was the first single to notify fans about the comeback of TLSP. The official music video hit YouTube on Jan. 28, and it looks like something straight out of the mind of Quentin Tarantino, minus the gore. If you ask me, the song would even be fit for one of his soundtracks. It’s fast-paced energy and screeching orchestra give it the same wild character exuded in the video by Kane, who, for the most part, sings alone on this track.
The record’s opener, “Aviation,” was also turned into a music video before the album was released. It takes place on a beach and features a runaway bride, a blindfolded string ensemble, a couple of thugs and grave-digging Turner and Kane. The musical arrangement involves some high-intensity strings, violins especially. It feels like a dramatic chase scene near the end of a movie, which is why I thought this was a fascinating way to begin an album.
Have you ever listened to “I am the Walrus” by the Beatles and tried to decode the lyrics? It’s pretty much the same thing with the album-titled track, “Everything You’ve Come to Expect.” The song even has the same dreamy, psychedelic sound common to tunes from the 1960s. Its corresponding video depicts our runaway bride from “Aviation,” and she’s dancing around the singing heads of Turner and Kane, who are now buried in the sand. Surely this is some twisted tale of love and misery.
“Miracle Aligner” is also an enigma of a song. It begins straight into the chorus, rather than with an intro or verse. With lyrics like, “Miracle aligner, go and get ‘em, Tiger, get down on your knees again,” one could interpret this in a number of ways. In a Beats 1 interview, Turner says the song is about a yoga instructor, while Kane says it’s about a wrestler, though I think it’s pretty obvious that neither of these is true. Similar to this in their mysterious, howl-at-the-moon type of style are songs “Dracula Teeth” and “She Does the Woods.”
Toward the end of the album, the lyrics become more personal and meaningful. “Sweet Dreams, TN” was written about Tuner’s ex girlfriend, Taylor Bagley. Its marching beat sounds like a battle cry for anyone who’s ever been a fool in love. In “The Dream Synopsis,” Turner reflects on memories of growing up in England, working in a bar, and the girl he dated at the time. We know he hates being introspective, as he asks, “Isn’t it boring when I talk about my dreams?” The album closes with “The Bourne Identity,” where Turner croons about his jealous, egotistical side that sabotages the good things in his life.
Waiting for your favorite artists to bless your ears with new music can be somewhat depressing. On the flip side, it also forces you to appreciate the music that much more when it’s finally finished. You know that it wasn’t just slopped together in a few weeks to please the masses and make some dollars. The men of TLSP definitely made their hiatus worthwhile, and something really great came from their absence on the music scene. If you’re a fan of the Arctic Monkeys or similar alternative rock bands, you should definitely give this album a listen.