Album Review: The Last Shadow Puppets preserve their suave image in 'Everything You’ve Come To Expect'

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MCT

Arctic Monkeys lead vocalist Alex Turner performs during day one of the Outside Lands music festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on August 8, 2014. The festival runs through Sunday. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

By Jake Valentine

When The Last Shadow Puppets released their debut record, “The Age of the Understatement,” both frontmen were in two very different points of their careers. Alex Turner had reached massive European success with his first two Arctic Monkeys albums while Miles Kane was working with his then-struggling band, The Rascals.

Fast forward eight years, and The Last Shadow Puppets have finally released a follow-up to their debut, titled “Everything You’ve Come To Expect.”ss A lot has happened over those eight years for the two frontmen. Arctic Monkeys released three more albums and successfully broke America with their latest LP “AM,” propelling Turner into indie-rock stardomss. Meanwhile, Miles Kane launched his solo career and released two albums that both accumulated commercial success.

Clearly, both Alex Turner and Miles Kane are on their game. Even though The Last Shadow Puppets is considered a side project for both men, “Everything You’ve Come To Expect” is nothing short of their usual brilliance.

The record starts off with “Aviation,” a tune that could easily fit into the opening scene of a James Bond movie. The Last Shadow Puppets make everything sound mysterious; this is clear in “Aviation,” with Kane’s effortlessly cool voice as an addictive guitar riff carries the song from start to finish.

“Aviation” is followed by “Miracle Aligner,” a track that could have been on the tracklist for the last Arctic Monkeys recordss. Turner’s voice on “Miracle Aligner” may be the brightest spot on the album. The track has an infectious melody that you’ll struggle to get out of your head for a while. It’s the most simple yet beautiful song off the record.

Pinpointing a specific genre for The Last Shadow Puppets is hard. Most tracks have an old school 1960s- and 1970s-type feel, mixed with the sexy and smooth crooning vocals of Turner and Kane.

Another element that separates The Last Shadow Puppets from other indie-rock bands of the modern day is their incredible poetic lyrics. On “The Element Of Surprise” we hear Turner describe his epic pursuit for a lover who’s playing hard to get. Turner’s ability to tell a story through his lyrics is second to none and has been a staple of his songwriting since the beginning.

On “Sweet Dreams, TN” we hear The Last Shadow Puppets make their case for a classic love ballad. Turner channels his inner Elvis as we hear him belt out “You’re the first day of spring, with a septum piercing. Little Miss Sweet Dreams, Tennessee.” “Sweet Dreams, TN” is one of the softer tracks of the record but still fits within the style of the album. It’s a classic Alex Turner love song that comes full circle when a string quartet finds its way into the chorus.

Many songs off “Everything You’ve Come To Expect” are hit or miss. Tracks like “Bad Habits” and “Used To Be My Girl” fail to capture the appeal as well as the suave feel of almost every other song on the album.

At times, hearing what The Last Shadow Puppets are trying to convey throughout the record can be tough. Songs in the mid to latter half of the album don’t necessarily flow from one to another and ultimately make the record difficult to listen to from front to back.

The Last Shadow Puppets’ second LP is essentially what one would expect from both Alex Turner and Miles Kane after eight years: a solid record filled with catchy melodies, beautiful songwriting, and exceptional musicianship. “Everything You’ve Come To Expect” is a worthy follow-up to their debut and should help the group expand over to the U.S.

Rating: 7.5/10

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