The Last Shadow Puppets
The Age Of The Understatement


4.5
superb

Review

by Fugue USER (58 Reviews)
January 28th, 2009 | 44 replies | 9,797 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Last Shadow Puppets album is proof if proof is needed that these two young vocalists are leaps and bounds ahead of 99% of the rest of the world in terms of imagination and musicianship.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

The Last Shadow Puppets are the side project of Alex Turner, the ineffable front man of the Arctic Monkeys, and Miles Kane, the less well known lead singer of The Rascals. Meeting in 2005, when Kane’s old band supported The Arctic Monkeys, the two soon became friends and started writing together sometime in mid 2007. With their imaginations the only limits The Age Of The Understatement was written and recorded in the space of about six months and was released in February of 2008. As grand a project as either had been previously involved in The Age Of The Understatement doesn’t disappoint, proving why Kane and in particular Turner have such promising futures.

The first notable aspect on the album is the sound itself. The sound here is colossal, far more complex than the duo’s combined work, and with the London Metropolitan Orchestra contributing to the atmosphere, each and every song here feels and sounds important. Opener and lead single The Age Of The Understatement gets the album off to a terrific start. With focused musicianship and the determination to succeed the song showcases the aspects of the rest of the album whilst still keeping its own unique identity. Reminiscent of David Bowie’s earlier work, the sound of the late sixties has been revived excellently. Pounding drum beats and tight guitar work often provide a structure to the songs, with the two vocalists given free roam to experiment as much as they like and the orchestra more often than not providing the icing on the metaphorical cake, and adding a grand atmosphere to songs otherwise lacking in this department. To say it works well together would be an understatement in itself, with each and every note meticulously arranged to create a unified album that flows as well as any other I can think of.

Truth be told all of the songs in the album are good and with no real weaknesses the album thunders along magnificently. Calm Like You and Separate And Ever Deadly demand even more attention on the singers, with the harmonies between the duo being the main focus point. More vocal interplay can be found on The Chamber and although the front men work well in tandem one often gets the feeling that most of the emphasis is placed on the distinct voice of Alex Turner. My Mistakes Were Made For You shows this well, with Turners vocals predominantly in the foreground with Kane utilized as more a backing singer. This said it still manages to be one of the albums highlights, the subtle music making more of an impression than one would think.

Another album highlight Black Plant starts with an intro that wouldn’t feel amiss in an old James Bond film. The lush string assortment from the orchestra truly makes this song unique on the album. As previously mentioned there isn’t a bad song on the album yet even though individually the songs are all great this record is best listened to fully with no interruptions in order to get the most out of it. Although this record is initially difficult to appreciate, time is needed for the music to fully make its mark as it is difficult to adjust to the unexpected sound presented. One or two listens will not prove fruitful but multiple listens prove to unearth facets of the music that may previously have eluded. Whilst early listens may bore, the sheer brilliance that is the culmination of the music is worth the wait.

This is a surprisingly consistent record from two of Britain’s most promising front men. Ambitious, talented and ruthless in their approach these two men have undoubtedly created an album that stands up to anything their individual bands have done and maybe even surpasses them in terms of scope and purpose. The twelve tracks on offer here are fashioned brilliantly, the tracks flow seamlessly into one another creating the sense of one encompassing movement; and while every track has its own merits, this is one album that is better when listened to in its entirety. Definitely a grower, if not given time it will probably bore, but when given time to flourish, the intricacies will astound even the most grounded listener.

Recommended Tracks
Age Of The Understatement
Calm Like You
My Mistakes Were Made For You
Black Plant

Overall 4.5 Superb



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Comments:Add a Comment 
gaslightanthem
January 28th 2009



5209 Comments


i bought this album just before christmas but still haven't listened to it
i probably should

Fugue
January 28th 2009



7352 Comments


Haha yeah you should. I probably overrated this like usual but I'm sure you'll find it a good listen.

robin
Emeritus
January 28th 2009



4247 Comments


cool review, i still havent even got round to listening to the arctic monkeys at all, though, so i'll save this for much later. :p

Fugue
January 28th 2009



7352 Comments


This really is nothing like the Arctic Monkeys, but I do recommend you listen to them first.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 28th 2009



7322 Comments


Nice review. I've only heard this once, and didn't think much of it tbh, though there were some great songs (title track, Standing Next To Me) . Maybe I should give it another listen.

Fugue
January 28th 2009



7352 Comments


Yeah thats exactly wht I did Ali, listened to it and decided it wasn't great. As I play my ipod on shuffle like 80% of the time, a few of the tracks started to grow on me as they got thrown up so I gave it more listens and have come to love it.

Knott-
Emeritus
January 28th 2009



10195 Comments


I respect this album but when I bought it, on the same day as Coldplay's Prospekt's March, I was just disappointed by its lack of climaxes. It feels like it's building to something all the time, but never really reaches it.

Fugue
January 28th 2009



7352 Comments


Fair enough, I guess it meanders a bit in places.

Knott-
Emeritus
January 28th 2009



10195 Comments


I forgot to mention, I like this review.
Why do you think it's surprisingly consistent, though?
I might spin this a few more times if it's a grower.

Fugue
January 28th 2009



7352 Comments


Thanks dude, 'tis appriciated.

Hmm I was surprised by the consistency because other than Whatever People Say I Am... both albums with these guys in were inconsistent. I thought Rascalize was very on-off and Favorite Worst Nightmare also dipped in the middle.

Oh and it's most definately a grower.This Message Edited On 01.28.09

johnnyblaze
January 28th 2009



2601 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've heard the songs from the EP version of this and really enjoyed them, the strings and Alex's voice especially. Is this much better than the EP?

Fugue
January 28th 2009



7352 Comments


I really have no idea, I didn't even know this came out as an EP. What songs were on the EP maybe I could try and help based on that.

johnnyblaze
January 28th 2009



2601 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

age of understatement, two hearts in 2 weeks, wondrous place, in the heat of morning. Those were on my downloaded version.

johnnyblaze
January 28th 2009



2601 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

But, 3/4 don't seem to appear on the LP. Hmm.

Fugue
January 28th 2009



7352 Comments


Yeah I haven't heard any of those. Album is very good, if your unsure I suggest checking some of the tracks out on youtube or something. Shitty quality but you'll get the gist of it.

Douchebag
January 28th 2009



3624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, I was gonan get around to it but I don't need to now :D

The only problem I have with this CD Is that the songs are way too short. They could of made them much more epic if they went for a touch longer. also I don't believe it is nearly as good as both arctic monkeys albums (especially in terms of lyrics)

However I still listen to it from time to time and will give it another listen now.

Fugue
January 28th 2009



7352 Comments


Well it was you who gave me the idea for this :-) glad you thought it was good.

Yeah the songs are short and as a consequence the album itself is short but I always thought that was better than an overly long album.

This is (slightly) better than favorite worst nightmare for me, but its got nothing on Whatever people say I am... which I really must put up to a 5 soon.

Douchebag
January 28th 2009



3624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, but I found FWN really grew on me the more I heard it, really looking foward to the 3rd.
You should hear the shadow puppets play SOS by Rihanna, funny stuff.

Fugue
January 28th 2009



7352 Comments


Yeah it grew on me too actually, but there are still a couple of tracks I dislike. Next album should be good, especially with Josh Homme producing.

Haha, sounds awesome, will check it out just now.

Douchebag
January 28th 2009



3624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Josh Homme is cool as. I reckon they might sound heavier (by their standards) next time round.



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