Album Reviews

Last Shadow Puppets “Everything You’ve Come to Expect” (REVIEW) 2016

This week, Last Shadow Puppets will release their 2nd full-length album, Everything You’ve Come to Expect (April 1st). To start, it involves Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys… so you should already know it’s worth checking out.

So how is it? Well, that ultimately depends on your tastes. Everything You’ve Come to Expect revives the 60’s-ish vibe of their debut (2008’s The Age of the Understatement) for sure, but with some breaks in stride (i.e. “Bad Habits”). If the only Turner song in your library is Arctic Monkeys’ “Do I Wanna Know?” or “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”  then there’s a chance you might be lost here.

For the rest of you, let’s dive in for a second.

It’s not fair to only mention Turner, when his equally talented partner in crime (literally, if you haven’t seen the recent “Aviation” video) Miles Kane has just as much flare here. The combination of talents in this group is almost unnerving, considering this is basically a side project… yet they have a sense of cohesiveness and maturity that most groups could ever hope to achieve.

The tunes are relatively short and sweet, with a definite sense of craft, and serve as an awesome reminder that smart lyrics can still exist in poppy music…

When the current offering from UK giants Coldplay offers trite cliche phrases like “I feel my heart beating… you make me feel alive again,” Last Shadow Puppets stick to a typical Alex Turner/Miles Kane quality of lyricism with, “Mama told me you should start as you meant to go wrong, or else you’re never gonna get it right” (in the track “Aviation”).

Care and thought aside, Everything You’ve Come to Expect doesn’t quite hit the same way as their previous offering. The lyrics are there, but the music doesn’t quite go the same distance as the compositions on The Age of the Understatement. Everything sounds fancy and polished, until you remove the string sections. What you’re left with is a decently solid batch of tunes that could have been developed a bit more. The majority of tracks blend in to one another as though they we’re written in the same sitting, with a few outliers (“Aviation”, “Bad Habits”, “Used to Be My Girl”). The latter of which still retains that Josh Homme influence that we’ve been hearing in recent Monkeys’ releases.

Bottom Line: The whole offering is solid and an adventure to get through. Somewhat like a story… and it is perfectly enjoyable. But as a record, Everything You’ve Come to Expect isn’t quite what the title lets on. Not when the previous release clearly showed insane ambition with fantastically interesting tune after interesting tune. This one seems slightly phoned in, despite good intentions.

Rating: 7.5/10

Notable tracks: “Aviation”, “Everything You’ve Come to Expect”, “Pattern”

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