Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

‘Muted & repurposed’: (l-r) Matt Helders, Alex Turner, Nick O’Malley & Jamie Cook of Arctic Monkeys. Photograph: Zackery Michael
‘Muted và repurposed’: (l-r) Matt Helders, Alex Turner, Nick O’Malley và Jamie Cook of Arctic Monkeys. Photograph: Zackery Michael
Sheffield’s finest swap earthy rock for lunar vibes. It could thua thảm rather than win fans, but that may be the point…

There are hard acts khổng lồ follow, và then there’s Arctic Monkeys’ last album. 2013’s AM was, in so many respects, the perfect rock record of our times. With a few exceptions, mainstream indie guitar music often seems an exhausted idiom, trying on fifth-hand poses to lớn diminishing creative returns.

Bạn đang xem: Tranquility base hotel & casino

On AM – a record about lust in LA – the Monkeys’ carnivorous riffs and piledriving drums exchanged toàn thân fluids with the slink và anomie of contemporary R&B and west coast hip-hop. AM’s qualitative brilliance was matched by its quantitative uptake, earning the Sheffield outfit No 1 spots internationally, and a massive new audience in the US. Was it the band’s best since their 2006 debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not? In all likelihood.

Five years on, Tranquility Base hotel & Casino totally strips out the rock from the Arctics’ offering. Sure, there’s a fuzz-toned guitar on Golden Trunks. The low-slung She Looks lượt thích Fun opens with a very rock band-y “one, two, three, four”. Guitarist Jamie Cook, drummer Matt Helders & bassist Nick O’Malley are here, but they are muted, repurposed. All contribute khổng lồ the vibe – not least, in soulful falsetto backing vocals – but their instruments are not slamming up against your chest cavity và dislocating your spleen.

Instead, singing guitarist Alex Turner has taken his muse off into space – the moon, specifically. It’s an awe-inspiring place, somewhat despoiled by humans and their need khổng lồ build hotel-cum-casinos near the Sea of Tranquility. If you’ve been khổng lồ Niagara Falls, you’ll have a flavour. There’s a taqueria on the roof, too, scoring four stars out of five (“and that’s unheard-of”, vamps Turner).

Give yourself up khổng lồ one of our very greatest songwriters, & then it’s a riveting & immersive listenThis is another record, tangentially, about coupling và uncoupling in LA, as songs lượt thích Science Fiction (“I must admit you gave me something momentarily in which I could believe”) & Batphone (“I’ll be by the batphone if you need to lớn get a hold”) attest. But it is set, sonically và aesthetically, in a cocktail lounge, looking back on the trang chủ planet with a seething croon.

Xem thêm: Game Lai Xe Cuu Thuong - Chơi Game Lái Xe Cứu Thương

Turner is the louche, troubled guy at the piano, trying khổng lồ say something of existential worth in a devalued, cheesy, light entertainment medium. In this, he is echoing Sheffield’s other two big-beast bards, Jarvis Cocker & Richard Hawley, who have paved the knowing road khổng lồ the ivories before him. But Turner has also arrived at a place very similar to lớn where fellow LA over-thinker Father John Misty resided on his last album. “I swing with the economists,” sneers Turner on One Point Perspective.

Just as most sci-fi is, yes, really about our own world, Tranquility Base is about the last few years in the US (“Breaking news: they take the truth và make it fluid”, Turner husks on American Sports), the warping effects of tech, và fame itself. If the frontman was illustrious enough before, in the wake of AM he only becomes more recognised; there’s the possibility here of a move in which the band might be trying to lớn shake off some fans in the way Nirvana did after Smells like Teen Spirit. So Tranquility Base is, at least initially, a frustrating listen if you joined Turner và co for the pugnacious guitars, or hold Arctic Monkeys up as the Oasis or Libertines for discerning rock fans with wide musical tastes.

Once you ditch the notion that AM’s successor should rock lượt thích it, and give yourself up to rolling around in the psyche of one of our very greatest songwriters like an olive in a martini, then it’s a riveting và immersive listen – an album-bomb dropped without preceding singles, re-emphasising the importance of a cohesive work, rather than a shuffled, Spotified deconstruction.

Other artists have laboured the fame/space metaphor before; the Weeknd is only the most recent. Turner is, obliquely, dealing with being a “motherfucking starboy”, doing some work on himself, và writing about writing; his gift is such that he can carry this solo-album-under-another-name. Hilariously, the album opens with the line “I just wanted lớn be one of the Strokes”; a jawdropping admission from one of music’s best beaters-around-the-bush. Even better is Batphone’s imagined scent. “I launch my fragrance called ‘Integrity’,” intones Turner, eyebrow making a parabola. “I sell the fact that I can’t be bought.”

The Starboy analogy works because, just as AM fed rock through the west coast genres, this album feeds lounge music through it too. One Point Perspective starts with dink-dink-dink keys, whose vibes recall Dr Dre on Still DRE. There are breakbeats here & there, and subtle funk. The new ingredients, though, are soul and 60s film soundtracks. The vintage loveliness of Curtis Mayfield và his ilk hits you from the off on Star Treatment; retro keyboard sounds abound. The amazing Four Out of Five partially recycles Cook’s bejewelled riff from vì I Wanna Know? and elides it with the memory of Lou Reed’s Satellite of Love (“take it easy for a little while”). The album exists in a narrow bandwidth of sound but that strip reveals depths & textures over time.

Buried inside scenarios, allusions & lunar perspectives are disarming moments of what you might laughably gọi “realness” in the hall of mirrors that is art. “So I tried to write a tuy nhiên to make you blush,” sings Turner, “but I’ve a feeling that the whole thing may well just over up too clever for its own good, the way some science fiction does.” There is a risk that this atmospheric record, one that wrong-foots expectation, might not land well. But this voyage into themed purgatory – what one tuy nhiên calls the Ultracheese – is worth it.