Sunday, July 6, 2008

THE AGE OF THE UNDERSTATEMENT-The Last Shadow Puppets


The Age of the Understatement-
The Last Shadow Puppets
Status: Out as of 2008
Label: Domino
Rating: 4 Feathers


When you take two 22 year olds, you would expect a record to be a bit punk, possibly angry. What you would not expect is a big bold orchestral section with pieces of brass and slightly softer sounds. Well, that's pretty much what Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane of The Rascals did, with strings provided by Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) and drums provided by James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco). The album kicks off with the title track 'The Age of The Understatement'. The song opens with strings that sound like seagulls that move into drums and guitar reminiscent of 'Knights of Cydonia' by Muse. It's extremely epic sounding, not what you'd expect. Miles's and Alex's vocals sound similar enough that them singing together creates a grander feel. 'Standing Next to Me' seems like it could've been taken from the hit-list during the 60's. It is upbeat and has a pop-y feel. 'Calm Like You'(s) vocals at the beginning sound almost like they could be from an Arctic Monkeys song but the orchestral feel continues to make it their own. 'Separate and Ever Deadly' is the sort of song where if you listen to it once, it grinds into your skull, sets up camp, and as it says in the song, 'won't let go'. It has a somber, but frantic feel and you will want to listen to it over and over again. Apparently, 'The Chamber' was the duo's first try at the whole swapping vocals thing. Well, they've got that down. The message of being 'cornered by yourself' adds to the sullenness of it. The quiet of 'The Chamber' is the exact opposite of 'Only The Truth'. It kicks in with the two shouting 'only the truth' which'll surprise you if you're not ready. This isn't my favourite song because it sounds like too much like 'The Age of The Understatement' in the sense that the guitar is just too similar and the drums are also not as fitting as they were in the title track. 'My Mistakes Were Made For You' starts with a drum-roll and moves into a very acoustic-y sort of feel with Alex singing alone. It, to me, is beautiful due to a single voice against a melodic orchestra and acoustic guitar. It's got the perfect amount of calm, but just enough of a darker feel to make you love it. I mega-loathe 'Black Plant'. I just don't like it. It's by far my least favourite. The beginning is annoying and I hate the upbeat pace that's punctured by slow movements and a horn that just follows the vocals. Miles's and Alex's vocals don't mesh in this song at all in that the harmonies are all screwed up. 'I Don't Like You Anymore' is very, let's say, different, but in a good way. The beginning is a little slow, but once Miles comes in, you can hardly understand his thick Liverpool accent because he sounds like he's putting his heart into that stanza. It's a very odd journey that leaves you thinking 'What WAS that?' 'In My Room' is a very, very dark song and it ends on an awkwardly happy chord. 'Meeting Place' is amazing. It's so beautiful, that when listening to it in a certain mood, it may make you cry. Its sound is so filled with hope, though the lyrics are about a guy leaving a girl, that the mood init of itself makes it so brilliant. 'The Time Has Come Again' has a solo acoustic guitar, later accompanied by strings, and an echo-y vocal that make it the perfect ending for such a grand, epic album. This album, specifically, sounds like 50's-60's orchestral pop, with a modern, youthful, epic feel. Miles and Alex are both promising lyricists and musicians. You'd expect an album like this to be done by a critically acclaimed musician that's nearing his 7th or 8th album, but the fact that they are so young just makes this album that much better. Noting each of their band's works, The Last Shadow Puppets definitely took a huge risk. These guys have guts and I would strongly suggest this album for listening to. A Monkey and a Rascal: Who knew.
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"I walked into the studio when they were doing 'Meeting Place'; this little song you've written in your bedroom is being played by an orchestra! I went cold".
-Miles Kane
Video For Standing Next To Me
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Note: I took the picture myself. Also, I posted a rating and a video in the Vampire Weekend post to, so check it out. I hope you enjoyed!

8 comments:

Qausi-Mom said...

Dblhawk - your reviews are, I don't even know if I can put into words the way they make me feel. I keep reminding myself it is a review I am reading, yet your words flow in a way that makes it more than a review. Your uncle is going to start wondering why all these packages are showing up from Amazon --

Arnold Layne said...

Wonderfully written! Spoken realistically in plain english but yet wonderfully described and easy to understand. Keep doing what you're doing because I'm already waiting for your next review. I'd buy a Rolling Stone magazine just to hear what you have to say.

Lily Hydrangea said...

...grinds into your skull, sets up camp, 'won't let go'...I love this! Excellent post DH.
Standing next to me reminds me of The Moody Blues.

Lily Hydrangea said...

PS I like how you have the shots of the albums too.

Double Hawk said...

Thankyou for your nice comments! If you have any suggestions, do tell!

Lily Hydrangea said...

I like your new photo.

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I love their sound......a breath of fresh air! I even think that my bf will enjoy this new find.....that is...if she doesn't already know about them?!

*I'm going to try and find some more songs to listen to....

imaninja104 said...

I can't wait to buy this album!!!!!!!

What is better than a great review.....AND Alex Turner??? Huh? HUH???