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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

Alex Turner does it again, buy this album now!

When you first heard lead singer Alex Turner was going to France to work on an album with some guy named Miles Kane, you have to admit you were a little skeptical. But as soon as I heard this album I fell in love with it. The Last Shadow Puppets, the best name since The Arctic Monkeys, consist of Alex Turner of The Arctic Monkeys, Miles Kane of The Rascals, and James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco. Togther they made The Age of the Understatement. This is an album with great strings, perfect lyrics, and a dark theme. Unilke anything you have heard from these guys other bands, this album is nearly perfect. Heres a preview of the album: The Age of the Understatement: Epic, dark, and catchy. Preview of what the album is about. Standing Next to Me: Alex and Miles trade lyrics perfectly. Acoustic, and great. Calm Like You: My fav of the album. It's catchy, and has classic Alex Turner lyrics. Seperate and Ever Deadly: "Grabs me by the thoat, and wont let go" Best lyrics on the album, quick, catchy, and dark. The Chamber: Dark lyrics. Message, dont get down on your self. Love this tune. Only the Truth: Lovely song about a girl. Dark theme, brilliant lyrics. My Mistakes Were Made for You: "About as subtle as an earth quake". Alex really shows off his song writeing talent here. Love it. Black Plant: A song right out of the 1950's. "Got paper cuts from the love letters you never gave him". Witty lyrics, soaring strings. I Don't Like You Anymore: Darkest song of the album, right to the point, I don't like you anymore. In My Room: Another dark tune, we get to hear Miles stand out on this song. The Meeting Place: At last, and upbeat tune, but with dark lyrics. Great stings, love it. The Time Has Come Again: So sad the end has come. Alex sings over an accoustic guitar before the string section comes in. "Don't go too soon, she went too soon". Need I say more? For all you Arctic Monkeys Fans, sure this is not as good as WPSIATWIN or Favourite Worst Nightmare, but this album does not fall far behind. Great lyrics, great guitars and strings, great theme. This will be the best album to come out in 2008.

A blast from the past!

A seductive sound featuring a Sixties swagger with a dash of James Bond-like cool. Dynamic... cinematic... epic.

oh yeah!!!

I've waited so long for this...and I'm not disappointed. Alex and Miles totally lived up to and went beyond my expectations, and that is really saying something as Alex Turner is one of my heros and I really expected a lot from him. The Age of the Understatment is amazing. It really has such a cool, old James Bond-feel to it that works so well. My favorites: -Standing Next to Me- the thirty second clip does not do this justice, it has a beautiful string part! -Courtesy of Owen Pallett, who also does strings for Arcade Fire. -Calm Like You- I love this.Good lyrics too. "I can still remember when your city smelt exciting/ I still get a whiff of that aroma now and then. -Separate and Ever Deadly- I love when they alternate lines like "Save me from the secateurs/ I'll pretend I didn't hear/ Can't you see I'm a ghost in the wrong coat/ biting butter and crumbs". It has a very exciting feel. -My Mistakes Were Made For You- this is such a good one. Excellent vocals. -The Meeting Place- this is a beautiful song. Enough said. Buy this now, if you are any fan of good music. Every track is really fantastic. Actually, go out and buy it from your local CD place, because let me tell you the cover art and booklet is fantastic and it is much more statisfying to be holding such a brilliant record physically in your hand. Job well done Alex, Miles, and anyone else involved for creating such an epic record. =)


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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