Slick, smug and fresh, the second Last Shadow Puppets album, Everything You’ve Come to Expect, is at times exactly that, and at times entirely unexpected.
Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner and playboy-rocker Miles Kane return from an eight-year hiatus with a different sound to the full-blooded rock’n’roll that won their first album, The Age of the Understatement, widespread acclaim and a Mercury Prize nomination in 2008.
While Turner has been releasing steady albums with the Monkeys from his LA home, Kane has enjoyed success in his solo career. The pair have kept Shadow Puppets fans on edge since then, with Kane teasing in 2012 that they would make the second record “when the time is right”.
That the new album will be considerably different has been made clear, and Turner admitted recently that the lyrics are more explicit, in keeping with the pair’s boyish, swaggering style, with lyrics like “Let me know when you want your socks knocking off” throughout.
That nonchalantly crude style has provided success for both, and when hearing the Turner-heavy, lethargic vocals of ‘Sweet Dreams, TN’ or the anthemic opening track, ‘Aviation’, it is easy to picture the pair crooning into the microphones on stage, crowd baying below.
The titular track is one of the best on the album, and combines violin, psychedelic harmonies and haunting vocals to evoke macabre, haunted-house vibes, aligning with the music video in which the pair are buried up to their necks in sand. Following it on the album, ‘The Element of Surprise’ is more upbeat and brisk, even funky.
‘Bad Habits’ is the obvious choice for the first single, with its screaming guitar and Kane’s frenetic vocals, while tunes like ‘Miracle Aligner’ separate today’s Puppetry from their earlier material, making use of soaring violins from composer Owen Pallett.
Final track ‘The Dream Synopsis’ is reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys’ AM, and will especially please local Sheffield fans with lyrics such as “The wicked gale came howling / through Sheffield city centre / there was palm tree debris everywhere”.
It’s to be expected by now that these two know how to impress fans and sell albums, and Everything You’ve Come to Expect will prove just that. Pleasingly, though, this album threatens at times to be familiar to both artists’ work – then snatches that away, providing an original and genuinely different sound to previous material.