Arctic Monkeys

Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Domino

May 15, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


So here we are. Five years after the slicked back hair and leather clad riffs of AM, Arctic Monkeys are back with a new record, the oddly-titled Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. The project that started out as a solo project for frontman Alex Turner now incorporates the entire bandsomething equally as perplexing as it is ill-fitting.

It's worth stating that, before we get any further into this, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is a good album. It trades out the pure indie rock edge of the band's entire discography to date for a fuzzy, alternative absurdism that can initially wrong-foot it's audience. On tracks like "Four Out Of Five" and "Science Fiction," atmospheres are created that drown out distinctive moments of any instrument-based melody until they become a blur, a thick haze through which Turner's vocals and lyricism alone are allowed to shine.

This characteristic, an unwavering devotion to foreground the band's central personality and creative force is as much a positive for the record as it is a negative. In the same way that Tame Impala's records have become more and more about Kevin Parkerto the extent where very few other people are even involved in the recording process anymoreso it goes that new creations from Arctic Monkeys feel more and more like a collection of songs that are Turner's, and Turner's only.

Those looking for the kind of anthems that we've become accustomed to on Arctic Monkeys records are pretty out of luck here as songs similar to previous hits "Do I Wanna Know?," "Mardy Bum," and "Brianstorm" are traded out for a set of compositions that sound a lot more like a set of Bowie B-sides and album tracks from across his mid-'70s era, straying from the straight up British rock and roll he came from and heading straight into more Americanized blues and, dare I say, even R&B.

It's true to say that, as a result of this album, Arctic Monkeys now have as many good-to-great albums as they do mediocre ones, and that this is down to this record's consistency and overall sense of setting. Equally though, the creative force of the band is becoming increasingly about one man's sense of identity, something that drives against their sense of community that has been inherent in their work up until this point. (www.arcticmonkeys.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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