Review: The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect

Review: The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect

5th April 2016 Off By John Connell
Alex Turner and The Last Shadow Puppets arrive at the NME Awards at the 02 Academy, Brixton, London.

Alex Turner and The Last Shadow Puppets arrive at the NME Awards at the 02 Academy, Brixton, London. Picture by: Suzan / Suzan/EMPICS Entertainment

Last week, The Last Shadow Puppets released their long-awaited second album, Everything You’ve Come To Expect.

The Alex Turner and Miles Kane fronted band hadn’t released music together since 2008, so expectations were high.

Having recently added a date at Newcastle City Hall to their extensive UK tour alongside appearances at several worldwide festivals this summer, the band are well and truly back.

The new album – Turner’s first release since ‘AM’, the number-one record that saw Arctic Monkeys nominated for the Mercury Prize – doesn’t disappoint.

Kane takes centre stage on opener Aviation. He sings about ‘strolling through the opening scene’, which is exactly what the track feels like. It’s an easy introduction to the LP, and introduces string instruments from the off. If there’s one thing the album does well above all else, it’s the incorporation of violins to accompany 60s inspired guitar elements.

Miracle Aligner introduces Turner’s familiar vocals which, coupled with the track’s lazy sauntering style, makes it sound like a song that fell just short of making it onto Arctic Monkeys’ 2009 Humbug album. Succeeding tracks Dracula Teeth and Everything You’ve Come To Expect lower the tempo of the album but this is remedied by The Element of Surprise; again, Turner takes the mic with Kane’s backing vocals subtly harmonising in an upbeat style. The track expresses the cocky, roguish charm that they’ve become synonymous with, as Turner drawls ‘Let me know when you want your socks knocking off’.

Follow-up track Bad Habits is the most experimental sounding on the album. It precedes what is perhaps the most typically-Turner tune on the album, Sweet Dreams, TN. The track’s a lament over a woman (what else?) which is equal parts cool and affectionate.

Used To Be My Girl feels like a response to Sweet Dreams; if the previous track is about trying to win the girl, this one’s about having lost her, which is evident in the ominous guitar tones. She Does The Woods sounds like another Arctic Monkeys B-Side. Pattern, track 10, makes excellent use of the guitar/strings/Miles Kane vocals mix to exhibit the sonic difference between TLSP’s previous album and this release. Kane’s lyrics equal Turner’s for quirk and style: ‘Never in my wildest dreams has it occurred to me to try to go to sleep’.

Penultimate track The Dream Synopsis returns to Alex Turner, exploring his journey from the streets of Sheffield to the heights of musical superstardom. The piano here creates a reflective narrative which sounds Bowie-esque. It should have been the album-closing track, instead of The Bourne Identity – sadly not an ode to Matt Damon. Turner’s signature self-deprecation is on show here: ‘I feel like the sequel you want to see but you were kind of hoping they would never make’.

Overall, the album feels like a triumph. TLSP have returned after almost a decade with a mix of musical styles that could stand up amongst the best indie albums of recent times. Messrs Kane and Turner, with a busy summer season ahead, have succeeded in doubling their repertoire and given fans something more to sing along to.