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The Age of Understatement

In a surprise move, Alex Turner goes back to 1966

Rating: 8 / 10

Patrick Freyne, 16 Apr 2008

Wow. This was a bit of a surprise. Alex Turner’s side-project with Miles Kane from the Rascals goes back to much earlier source material than that plundered by his other band the Arctic Monkeys. Indeed, this is a pretty faithful recreation of the oeuvre dominated by acts like the Zombies, Scott Walker and Love (especially Love). Yes, the duo have made an album of mid-sixties, pre-psychedelic, epic pop music with period reverb settings, Hammond organs, tremolo guitars, mariachi drum beats, horn sections, rapid strum acoustic guitars, and tasteful orchestral touches. The only contemporary artists it reminds me of are Belle And Sebastian and later Pulp and Jarvis Cocker records, and that’s only because they have an obsession with the same era of golden pop.

So it’s been done before. But what saves it from becoming pastiche is the fact it’s so lovingly and meticulously produced and arranged, and that Turner’s delivery remains unaffected by time-travel (i.e. he’s still trying to cram as many words into each line as he can get away with). Now, the only problem with lodging oneself so firmly into the history of western pop is that there’s only one obvious way forward – onto psychedelia, prog, glam, punk, new wave, etc. And eventually maybe they’ll just evolve into the Arctic Monkeys again, which would be a shame, because this record is much more enjoyable than either record from that overrated band. So stay in the mid-’60s Alex Turner, it suits you!

Key Track: ‘The Chamber’

Rating: 8 / 10
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