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Big Cinematic Sized Gem,
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This review is from: The Age of the Understatement (Audio CD)I will be honest and say that I don't know The Rascals but I am all too familiar with the precocious talents Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys fame. Side projects of this type could be dismissed as mere vanity projects. Taking inspiration from the epic soundscapes of Scott Walker's quartet of albums from the 60's should be ambitious beyond reach.
It isn't and isn't so for a number of reasons. Firstly Turner writes wonderfully taught lyrics and here they are given a different setting which seems to make them soar. He also adds some darker tones to his writing which suit the mood well. Musically the wish to make something akin to Scott Walker's album works and this is largely due to the pretty much unhearalded talents of Owen Pallett who, at 21, has already made a name arranging strings for Arcade Fire and Beruit. He emulates the sweeping strings of Wally Stott (Walker's arranger) wonderfully. His work is quite literally the highlight of the record and hopefully this will help elevate his band Final Fantasy into the public conciousness.
The sound is very 60's and fans of the likes of Scott Walker, John Barry and countless other 60's icons will find much to enjoy in this. The production is wonderfully executed and adding the merest hint of echo to Turner's voice really sets the mood of songs. It's not really going to set the fans of the Monkeys alight as this is something quite different.
It is ambitious and sumptuous and rarely hits anything short of its desired for hieghts. Picking out individual highlights is hard as each one of the tracks is a joy. Here's hoping there's more from this trio of prodigiously talented individuals. One of the highlights of the year.