The Last Shadow Puppets: Some Friendships Find Themselves Interview | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Last Shadow Puppets

Some Friendships Find Themselves

Jul 18, 2016 Photography by Ray Lego The Last Shadow Puppets
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Alex Turner is desperately searching for a signal. “I always get worried that you can’t hear me,” he says hesitantly, wandering around his hotel in the British seaside town of Brighton. His call has already dropped a number of times in mid-conversation, and each time it does he couldn’t be quicker to apologize when he reconnects.

Turner’s connection issues begin and end with your phone call, though. Eight years after the first Last Shadow Puppets record, The Age of the Understatement, Turner and longtime friend and collaborator Miles Kane’s innate affinity is showing no signs of distorting as they return with their sophomore album Everything You’ve Come to Expect. “Alex has challenged me to lyrical ideas that I would not have had before,” says Kane. “Essentially, there is a deep friendship and enjoyment of making music together.”

Kane has the same effect on Turner. “I have to be very deliberate to avoid getting stuck in that rut,” Turner says, talking of how The Last Shadow Puppets gives him an opportunity to overcome the name-dropping, largely direct songwriting dynamic that is omnipresent in his work with Arctic Monkeys. It gives him a new dimension to exist within, which aids creativity.

“I think the whole scope got a bit wider,” says Turner of the new album. “It’s an expansion of both ends of the spectrum. If there’s a narrative in [title track] ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect,’ it’s one that requires the melody and the music to tell that story. On the other hand you’ve got ‘Sweet Dreams, TN,’ where it’s completely direct. Maybe that comes from the confidence that being one whole half of this band gives me.”

Turner still tends to write love-struck, first-person narratives, for the most part. “To be honest, that’s my default position,” he admits. This time, however, that approach is constituted within a richer, darker palette of textures and atmospheres. The Last Shadow Puppets have evolved for their second coming. Kane is quick to point out that the pair recorded their debut in “a couple of weeks,” but that this one was written over a longer period of time, which would explain the more considered and expansive dynamic.

The two seem to see the title track as something of a breakthrough moment, with its psych-pop organs singing praises of the new direction that they’re headed. “It was the moment on the record that we were most proud of, I suppose,” says Turner. “If The Shadow Puppets is a project with which we feel the freedom to be experimental, that song’s certainly a good example of that. We named the record after it and put it out there before the album. It’s sort of the centerpiece.”

The charm to the second chapter in the band’s story is that the two seem to now ooze the same enthusiasm for the music as they do for one another. Says Turner, “I think it’s just a feeling you get, isn’t it. You can’t choose your friends.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar’s May/June 2016 Issue, which is out now. This is its debut online.]


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