Under Review: The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age Of The Understatement

O, to be one of the most successful young British bands in recent history. Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys made the music industry’s collective head explode with their debut release in 2006. While last year’s follow-up might not have been as wildly popular, it was still an incredible success compared to sales of many other artists’ records. It would seem impossible, between touring and recording with the Arctic Monkeys, that leader Alex Turner would have time to tie his shoes, let alone record a side project that rivals the proper band at its best. Under the name The Last Shadow Puppets, Turner and fellow nu-Brit-Popper Miles Kane (of The Rascals, who helped out on a few tracks on Favorite Worst Nightmare) have created a scratchy string-filled opus that pays homage to the epic pop records of 60’s AM radio. The musical voice of The Age Of The Understatement is quite recognizable as belonging to Turner, but the songs aren’t just “Brianstorm” with violins. The songs range from fuzzy rave-ups (“Black Plant”) to spooky reverb-drenched ballads (“The Chamber”, “I Don’t Like You Anymore”) and the driving, frenetic songs that Turner is known for (“Only The Truth” and the title track). The album might have only one trick (specifically called “col legno” or “with the wood”, when a stringed instrument is played with the backside of a bow), but what a trick it is. My only request would have been to release this album under the Arctic Monkeys’ name, if only to freak out their fans. Turner is clearly not afraid to let out a few musical oddities, so why not increase the music’s impact by more closely associating this wonderfully bizarre album with such a popular band? From what I’ve heard, that’s worked quite well for very popular British groups in the past.


~ by E. on May 27, 2008.

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