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The Age of the Understatement

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Album Review

It's not that often that side projects are more ambitious than the players' main bands, but the Last Shadow Puppets, the collaboration between the Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner and the Rascals' Miles Kane, is one of those rare birds. With their day jobs, Turner and Kane are revivalists of different strains of "angry young British man" rock, but with the help of drummer/producer James Ford (also of Simian Mobile Disco), arranger Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy), and the London Metropolitan Orchestra, on The Age of the Understatement they revitalize the lush, symphonic pop of early Scott Walker and David Bowie, when they needed an orchestra to express just how sweeping their feelings were. The title track's galloping strings-and-timpani drama begins the album, making it readily apparent just how ironic The Age of the Understatement's name is, and just how well the Last Shadow Puppets have recaptured that lavish late-'60s/early-'70s sound. The main update to it comes from Turner and Kane's voices; stark and suave like Walker and Bowie they are not, but that's a good thing — their boyish, unpretentious voices and brotherly harmonies keep the album from dipping into kitsch. Instead, a surprising urgency runs through The Age of the Understatement, most noticeably on the taut "Calm Like You" and "Separate and Ever Deadly," but also on softer moments like "The Meeting Place" and the extremely Walker-esque "My Mistakes Were Made for You." Whenever the drama threatens to become too monotonous, the band knows when to change things up: "I Don't Like You Anymore" brings in more of the Arctic Monkeys' spit and spite, building up to a livid guitar solo that practically shakes with loathing, while "Standing Next to Me" and "Time Has Come" rein in the bombast. Despite all the intensity, the Last Shadow Puppets have a light touch — their songs are short and don't overstay their welcome, and the whole affair is just arty and indulgent enough to make it special. It's not an overstatement to say that The Age of the Understatement is a likable, accomplished working holiday.

Customer Reviews

Fantastic.

I'm so glad that itunes finally got this in the Canadian store. I love this album and its sound. It is fairly different from the Arctic Monkey's sound but I like the change.

thanks for the actual music

Lately all we've been hearing is rhianna (is that how you spell it?).. okay, let call her rhinocerous... singing pointless lyrics with the same old backdrop rhythm and people still eat it up. The Last Shadow Puppets are an example of doing something different with music and getting respect for it. Thanks for making some meaningful music that I can listen to over and over Mr. Alex Turner..and your amazingly awesome bandmates make all the difference...in the arctic monkeys and your new band too

yess

finally in canada. this is a fantastic album. i've been listening to it all day. very different from the monkeys and the little flames. alex turner never ceases to amaze me. my favorite tracks are separate and ever deadly, the age of the understatment and black paint.

Biography

Formed: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Engla

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A Scott Walker and David Bowie-inspired collaboration between the Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner and the Rascals' Miles Kane, the Last Shadow Puppets began when Kane's previous band, the Little Flames, toured with the Arctic Monkeys in 2007. Already friends from prior gigs together, the pair started writing songs that spring, and headed into a French studio late that summer with producer/drummer James Ford. Additional recording, including strings courtesy of the London Metropolitan Orchestra and arranger...
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The Age of the Understatement, The Last Shadow Puppets
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