Arctic Monkeys
Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino


4.5
superb

Review

by disposablebodies USER (1 Reviews)
May 12th, 2018 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bear with me, man, I lost my train of thought.

When it comes to the indie genre, or really any genre, a hell of a lot of bands tend to fall into a rut after album 3 or 4, sitting pretty in their comfort zones of tired guitar riffs and lyrics about rebellion and young love. Arctic Monkeys could very well have gone the easy, radio-friendly route and made Humbug 2.0 or PM (or maybe it would be FM?) Instead, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino winds up being a quite bizarre but welcome change in direction, a grandiose blend of rock, lounge, jazz, and even dream-pop. This album is truly a grower; it took me three full listens (the last one after I’d “borrowed” my brother’s quality headphones) before I could piece together all the different sounds I was hearing. Their most layered, complex album to date, TBH&C takes you on a mellow, sonic adventure through space and time; so kick your feet up and have a martini, why don’t you?

The album opens with “Star Treatment,” a glorious, surreal, 6-minute promenade through a dreamy soundscape, akin to a guided tour through an extravagant hotel. The lights from the casino flash, people pass you by, wondering where you’ve dropped in from, and a porter takes your suitcase. Outside the grand windows, galaxies swirl in wild shapes and colors, beckoning you to join them. The bass notes trot briskly along next to the jazz piano and gentle synth. Falsettos float in the background, coming up to lead the song at just the right moments.

The rest of the album plays out much like this; though many songs aren’t nearly as dreamy, they have atmospheres all to their own. The lounge act from the opener fades out and give way to “One Point Perspective,” switching to a drum and piano duo, waiting to introduce the synth and bass. “Golden Trunks” has a consistent bass line, marching along for just enough time before switching up during the chorus and bridge. “She Looks Like Fun” is smooth and lively (and includes some incredible guitar solos), but breaks completely away from that in the chorus to blast out a theatrical, booming progression. The piano and synth in “Batphone” sounds like something out of an early-90s mystery adventure video game. Each song is riddled with it’s own self-indulgent musings and dystopian (or perhaps utopian) dreamscapes; like a maze with no exit, just tall walls and an endless, starry sky.

There’s far more than one fantastic example of Alex Turner’s writing ability throughout the record. From an odd "I feel rougher than a disco lizard tongue along your cheek" in “Science Fiction”, to his many nods to politics, religion, and society’s addiction to technology, the band blow themselves to the moon with their lyrics, not that it wasn’t expected of them anyway. The album’s lyrics can be summed up as charming, clever, and concise, with a little dash of humor.

“The Ultracheese” is the album’s closing song, and it’s perfect. It’s nothing huge, not layered with splendorous synth and drums, but a simple piano ballad that brings the whole album together. You wait on one of many of the lobby’s sofas, watching the familiar galaxies outside the windows. The piano booms out from the ballroom; you can see people slow dancing. The song comes to a close with the line, "I've done some things that I shouldn't have done, but I haven’t stopped loving you once." The porter hands you your suitcase, bidding you a farewell and lovely journey. Perhaps if you find yourself around these parts you’ll visit again.


Memorable Songs:
Star Treatment
Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
Golden Trunks
Science Fiction
Batphone
The Ultracheese


user ratings (655)
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Rowan5215 STAFF (3.9)
Arctic Monkeys tell the punchline after they have told the joke...

ABond (5)
Call the Martini Police cause here is that Ultracheese!...

ComputerBiz (2)
The first of its kind to get to the moon...

Drbebop (4.5)
The Monkeys take one giant leap into the next dimension...



Comments:Add a Comment 
disposablebodies
May 12th 2018


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

First ever review, so please critique! I wanted to practice reviewing with albums that I really love and as soon as I heard this I knew I'd love it.

Evrimen
May 12th 2018


152 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I really don't understand how every review for the album has been so positive while the average rating is 3.0

disposablebodies
May 12th 2018


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

if the ratings on here are anything to go by, the album has been really divisive for the fans. there'll be plenty of mixed reviews eventually.

SuperMatt
May 12th 2018


23 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, it seems like everyone either loved or strongly disliked it. I'm actually really curious to read a negative review on this album.

Cormano
May 12th 2018


4034 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

there is no trace of dream pop in the record at all



also how the fuck is this their most complex album?



like sowing said on the other review this is just 4 good ideas recycled over and over



you literally listed the worst songs on this thing too

Chambered79
May 12th 2018


1032 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Cormano is a fragile being

Evrimen
May 12th 2018


152 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I guess the dreamier, slower songs cause people to think it's more complex than it actually is. This was the case for King Gizzard's Sketches but that one was fun and interesting, unlike this record here.

disposablebodies
May 13th 2018


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@cormano no trace of dream pop at all? i guess the more dreamy songs made me think of dream pop influences ¯_(ツ)_/¯

GooGooGajoob
May 13th 2018


236 Comments


People on this site don't know what they really want from aged bands.

rodrigo90
May 13th 2018


7387 Comments


also how the fuck is this their most complex album?

I wouldn't say complex, but surely more eclictical

IAMERROR
May 13th 2018


331 Comments


I can't get into this. It sounds like a boring Destroyer to me. Does anyone know which of these members are from the Favourite Worst Nightmare & Whatever People Say era?

Evrimen
May 13th 2018


152 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Well, they didn't change members since 2006, the bass player, so right before recording the first album

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
May 13th 2018


25672 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was pretty lame yeah

Sharkattack
May 13th 2018


1731 Comments


I think it’s sort of weird how you said it was a grower because it took you three listens. That’s not a lot of listens to me.

IAMERROR
May 13th 2018


331 Comments


Well, they didn't change members since 2006, the bass player, so right before recording the first album

What an unexpected change in direction over the years. At least they have two classic albums that I jam to this day.

Ozshark
May 13th 2018


43 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Just. So. Boring! Maybe it is a grower as some are saying - but I honestly don't know if I will ever give it the chance. I'll just play one of their good albums for my Arctics fix.

VariableAnimal
May 13th 2018


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's quite odd for an Arctic Monkeys' album but it's great for what it is as an Alex Turner solo project.



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