The Last Shadow Puppets Album Review: The Age of the Understatement (2008)

Leave a comment down below to request an album for me and Robby to review. Any artist, any genre, we’ll give it a chance!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Age of the Understatement, debut album of the Last Shadow Puppets. This supergroup, comprised of Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane of the Rascals, released this single album as a side-project. They have yet to release a second as of 2015.

In green is my opinion. I am familiar with some of Turner’s work with the Arctic Monkeys as well as his solo album recorded for the film Submarine.

In blue is my cousin Robert’s opinion. He is familiar with indie rock and knows Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys.

The Age of the Understatement

If John Wayne was to ever be raised from the dead, he would be raised from the dead to this song. Fit for a western, the Age of the Understatement is a dynamic explosion featuring electric guitar, horn accents, and cinematic strings. The lyrics are well written, giving the music more edge than it already has. Somebody needs to throw this track into a western. Perhaps Tarantino could put it in his upcoming Hateful Eight. The Age of the Understatement is a fantastic track that introduces the album properly.

The album begins with a cool, horror-sounding introduction that leads into a sick, Muse-like arrangement. I could not help but notice that the Age of the Understatement sounds similar to Muse’s Knights of Cydonia. Knights of Cydonia is my favorite Muse song, so the similarity between the two tracks is by no means a bad thing. I like the western sound this song has due to its galloping drum beat. I cannot think of a better song to start off the album.

Standing Next to Me

Standing Next to Me is essentially a catchy hook. This track is defined by solid lyrics and a lovely orchestral arrangement. The song’s vocal melody faintly emulates that of Elton John’s The Trail We Blaze, which was featured in the remarkable movie The Road to El Dorado. Perhaps that is why I feel the song was built for adventuring. Standing Next to Me is a brisk, pleasant track that is easy to enjoy.

Damn it, why do great-sounding short songs always leave you wanting more? To me, the Last Shadow Puppets provide a modern take on the Beatles. I don’t like the Beatles, though I do like this song thanks to the violin and the guitar. The two instruments always make a great pair, as showcased by Standing Next to Me.

Calm Like You

Hell. Yes. From this day forward, Calm Like You will be my theme song. “I can still remember when your city smelt exciting” is the lyric of the album. The track is a Bond theme. The orchestra is booming, the electric guitar is smooth, and the horn is so slick that it’s unbelievable. Strong vocals are delivered on top of the outstanding instrumental elements, selling Calm Like You as a meaty song. This is an excellent track.

Calm Like You is yet another song that has an Oasis/Beatles vibe. Alex Turner steals the show, as his voice is just magnificent. His vocal delivery makes you feel as if you are listening to an Arctic Monkeys song. Calm Like You is satisfying despite its short length. 

Separate and Ever Deadly

Ah, English people. Pronouncing ‘butter and crumbs’ like ‘boater and chromes.’ This is why your own people left your country and established colonies in swamps. Anyway, Separate and Ever Deadly is a fine track. The song is certainly high in energy, though it does have a minor flaw. I feel that the track was too short for its own good. The breaks in the songs teased drama and retreated back to a rapid-fire pace. If the Shadow Puppets slowed down to flesh out the brief breaks, Separate and Ever Deadly may have felt more wholesome and less rushed. Regardless, the track is still solid.

Separate and Ever Deadly begins with bluesy guitar that progresses to become more western-sounding. I love this song’s fast tempo and interesting lyrics. I hope the Shadow Puppets keep these upbeat songs coming. I really do enjoy them!

The Chamber

Relaxed vocals paired with elegant strings give the Chamber an old-school vibe. There is something about the vocal delivery that makes the song seem as if it could have come out of my dad’s CD collection. The Chamber is a nice song, though it’s not a grand spectacle as are some other tracks on the record.

The Chamber is a simple yet beautiful song. For me, the bass steals the show. In addition, I love the odd-sounding outro to the song. The Chamber is one of those old-school songs that our parents would probably enjoy.

Only the Truth

Somebody needs to put a leash on that electric guitar. The orchestra, inclusive of crisp horns and strings, gives dramatic flare to the already rocking song. Only the Truth swells to a climax of grand proportions, making it a memorable track that further showcases the cinematic sound that glazed across this entire album.

An epic battle awaits, and Only The Truth can set you free. As a person who plays a lot of RPG titles, I can definitely see this song fitting into plenty of these games. This song just screams ‘prepare for battle’ with its tempo and its mosh of different instruments that raid your ears. I love this song for that reason.

My Mistakes Were Made for You

Constructed as if intended for a Bond film, My Mistakes Were Made for You is smooth like cream. Alex Turner’s voice is sleek, the drumming is relaxed, and the orchestra is crisp. Both the electric and the acoustic guitars stand out from one another, creating an interesting dynamic within the song. While simple, the bass adds a significant layer to the track. Yet again, insightful lyrics are included with the top-notch instrumental package. My Mistakes Were Made for You is an incredible feat.

The beginning of My Mistakes Were Made For You reminds me of an intro that would be included in an Arctic Monkeys song. This makes sense considering that Turner sings for the Arctic Monkeys as well. Once again the orchestra is pleasant to listen to, as is the western-sounding guitar. This is another solid track.

Black Plant

Black Plant contains two personalities. The first personality is that of a woman who has a glint of mischief in her eye. Defined by an energetic string melody, horn accents, and breezy drums, this side of the song is pleasant despite (or perhaps due to) the dark overtones. The second personality is that of a woman who is accustomed to throwing tables at other people. Turner explodes with a condescending tone, and angry buzzing that sounds straight out of GoldenEye from the N64 pops up as well. Trust me, I’ve played the game enough times to know its sound effects when I hear them. Ah, nostalgia. Black Plant is a moody track that I approve of.

The beginning of Black Plant sounds incredibly familiar, though I cannot pinpoint what it sounds like. Regardless, I love how the strings give the song a dark and spooky sound. Its early-2000 vibe makes it a joy to listen to.

I Don’t Like You Anymore

I Don’t Like You Anymore might as well be a Chris Isaak song. It’s got brooding lyrics, it’s got depressing electric guitar at the forefront, it’s got an organ, and it’s got attitude. All that’s missing is an overhanging cloud of suicide contemplation. The song quickly accelerates from sadness to frustration to all-out anger. The structure and progression of the song specifically reminds me of Chris Isaak’s Go Walking Down There. I Don’t Like You Anymore is a classic-sounding song that is full of passion. I dig it.

I Don’t Like You Anymore starts off slow, picks up in the verse, and then decelerates in the chorus. I love how this song is constantly fluctuating in tempo. Once again, the ending sounds like something out of a horror movie.

In My Room

The Last Shadow Puppets tease the James Bond theme at the beginning of this emotional outburst of a song. The orchestra comes out loud and fiery to complement Turner’s angry vocals. As was the case with Separate and Ever Deadly, however, this song could have benefit from taking its time. In order to fully sink in, In My Room should have stuck around longer, as the entire track is constantly moving forward at such a fast speed. More theatrical than cinematic, In My Room is listenable but rushed at its core.

In my room, I have furniture, Shark-signed pucks, a bunch of trading cards…oh wait, we’re talking about the song? This track starts off sounding like the 007 theme. Once the song gets started, a dark, mysterious tone is established by the organ and violin. I love the effect created by that particular combination. I suppose a room can be a scary place.

Meeting Place

The Last Shadow Puppets take us on a trip to a tropical hotel for a holiday. See how I used British terminology to fit the occasion? The Meeting Place employs irony, pairing a cheery instrumental background with breakup lyrics. The entire track is pleasant, enhanced by the distancing effect placed on the vocals. Usually, I feel that vocal distancing detracts from songs. Meeting Place is undoubtedly an exception. It is a solid, individual song that is, without question, the happiest of the album.

Meeting Place starts off with a nice violin intro and evolves into elevator music with lyrics. I mean that as a compliment. The song has a smooth tempo and some sad lyrics. I like this song, but I certainly do not want to go to this meeting place.

The Time Has Come Again

The Shadow Puppets get acoustic on us. The acoustic melody is pleasant, strengthened by the restrained orchestra and Turner’s easy vocals. I enjoy the soft side of the Last Shadow Puppets, as it’s a breath of fresh air. The Time Has Come Again is a cool little tune that ends the album on a satisfying, mellow note.

The Time Has Come Again for Juck and I to review the final track of an album. I love how this song has an acoustic guitar as its focal point. It is pleasant to the ears, much to the credit of Alex Turner. The Last Shadow Puppets have released an album that reminds me of the Beatles in the sense that they recorded short, solid songs that blend a variety of genres and sounds. If you want something that is totally different from what you are used to listening to, look no further. I love this supergroup and I hope we get more albums like this one.

My Top 3

Standing Next to Me

Calm Like You

My Mistakes Were Made for You

Rob’s Top 3

The Age of the Understatement

Only The Truth

The Time Has Come Again

The Age of the Understatement from the Last Shadow Puppets is a one-of-a-kind album. Its blend of rock and orchestra is remarkably effective. Each track on this album offers something individual. The tunes are breezy, the lyrics are strong, and the music is outstanding. This group needs to reunite to write the next Bond theme. The Age of the Understatement is a must-own Filet, charred on the outside and tender on the inside. Check it out immediately.

~Juck

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s