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4.4 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 22 April 2008
This is a very solid album, surprisingly good considering it's only a 'side project'. You don't need to be an Arctic Monkeys or Rascals fan to appreciate it, though if you don't like Alex Turner's voice then it won't be for you; he takes on the majority of vocal duties.

Full of (mostly) subtle orchestration and vocal harmonies, it sounds at times quite like the music you'd expect to find in a movie, perhaps a Bond soundtrack (listen to the intro to 'In My Room' and you'll understand). Most of the tracks have a frantic, energetic pace to them, particularly the title track and 'Black Plant'. Imagine the Arctic Monkeys, playing acoustically with an orchestra backing them and you've probably got a decent idea of the sound. The album is just as good when they slow the songs down and trade vocals, like in the brooding 'I Don't Like You Anymore'. It's more 'mature' and serious than anything they've released though, with the lyrics simpler and less wordy than Alex's usual fare. It's not particularly upbeat, all of the songs are quite dark and moody (though 'Meeting Place' gives a welcome respite from this, if not with the lyrics, at least with a more cheerful sound).

This probably won't be as well received as an Arctic Monkeys album, but it's just as good. There's a further depth to it that is lacking sometimes from their normal work, and it's nice to see two artists doing something experimental and different. The title is well chosen; the album is quite understated, definitely one that will grow the more times you listen to it.
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VINE VOICEon 23 April 2008
Wow, what an album. These guys are 22. I'm an old fart in my 40s. But I love this record. It's a beautiful headrush of pleasure. The Arctic Monkeys I can take or leave, probably because my ears need a break from staccato guitars and that trebly punky thing. But this is a bold and exhilarating record. I suppose it is Scott Walker-ish (think Seventh Seal) and James Bond-ish (think Chris Cornell's Casino Royale theme song) and Arctic Monkey-ish (Alex Turner's distinctive vocals) but Alex and Miles have done their influences proud and can easily stand up there with the people who served as their inspiration. The first 4 tracks come rushing out of the speakers backed up with a breathless and soaring orchestral accompaniment that is so bombastically over the top you can only grin at its sheer joie de vivre (did I really say that?). Thereafter the quality control wobbles a bit, though I'd say it's only a couple of tracks that are not that great, but things rapidly improve again and the album ends on another, though less thunderous, high.
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on 23 May 2016
A solid, coherent debut album. Very poppy in parts - see "Standing Next to Me" or "Meeting Place" - but with decent production and lyrics to back it up. Very catchy in parts. My only real criticism is that some of the better songs are cut too short, whereas longer numbers tend to be less memorable. Still, although it is only 35 minutes long, it does not feel short, or with much filler.

If you like the Arctic Monkeys, get this. Alex Turner's contributions, vocal and writing, dominate.

This is markedly better than their follow-up "Everything You've Come To Expect", which is somewhat dull and incoherent.
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VINE VOICEon 24 May 2008
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.
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on 8 January 2016
Love this album, couldn't seem to get it at HMV. Definitely worth the buy considering there's a new album coming out this year!
Just a small note, the case is not a standard plastic case. Its like a hard cardboard style case but still looks and works aswell as a normal case
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on 23 April 2008
Reading the other reviews, I feel like this album is a tad overrated. Maybe it's because I was anticipating it so eagerly, but I find it's a very particular style and not as much of a 'classic' as people are making it out to be. Like 5 out of 5.....really?!

The title track 'Age of the Understatement' - I love. The production is beautifully done, and it gallops along with a real ease and lightness of touch despite it being quite a complex track.

However the rest of the album is a bit of a let down for me. I feel as though some of the tracks are a bit rushed and are not as catchy and well crafted as 'Age of....' and most of the Monkeys' stuff. Apart from that, I'd say the next best tracks are probably Standing Next To Me and My Mistakes Were made For You.
A lot of the tracks for me are quite unremarkable and some of the lyrics baffling. I mean I usually like Turner's clever and witty lyrics but the chorus on 'Separate and Ever Deadly' for example - 'Save me from the secateurs/I'll pretend I didn't here/Can't you see I'm a ghost in the wrong coat, biting butter and crumbs.' What's all that about...maybe it's just me!

In conclusion though, I would applaud Turner and Kane for sticking to the courage of their conviction and making a record that clearly contains a lot of passion. I just think a lot of the songs are quite samey and I'm not sure it is much more than a pastiche of a kind of music the boys obviously love.
A lot of people clearly disagree maybe it's just a matter of taste...or giving it a few more listens.
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on 30 December 2008
The Last Shadow Puppets enlisted the help of Scott Walker for this Love/Misunderstood/Coral inspired release. It isn't the most accessible of albums, filled with tracks that follow the same west coast usa 1970 formula. Apart from the obvious singles I feel the rest of the tracks are not diverse enough or contain enough quality to let this album flourish.

An album that lacks any real diversity or uniqueness fails to engage the listener and after the first 5 tracks, I lost interest in this at precisely this point. I struggle to work out what Alex Turner and co are trying to achieve with this attempt. Is it an artistic statement, a homage to their past music preferences or maybe an attempt to break away from the stereotype of their previous work?

Whatever the aim is, I feel it lacks conviction and any real depth of quality. Love, Misunderstood and The Coral all are favourites of mine, and this album should sit nicely with them. In fact if I played this along side them it might just work in places, but it feels even more outdated than the 1960's efforts.

This album fails by being too samey and lacks the quality to pull off the same trick 12 times over. Alex Turner is well known as the cocksure cheeky lad from Sheffield who fronts the Arctic Monkeys, and I believe that is where he excels and he should remain. He deserves some credit for being brave enough to break his mould and to push his and his fans limits, the Mercury nomination is essentially for just that, but this is where this should end.

*** Like: The Coral, The Misunderstood, Love ***
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on 13 June 2008
A lovely debut from maybe Britians cutest male duet but is it only famous because of the legacy of Alex Turner?
The strings of Age of the understatement kicks in followed by miltary drums and sweeping strings galore. The pair racing through the lyrics like hurdles. I must say the title track lives to its title it is a big understatement. 2nd track "Standing next to me" makes you feel like your shooshing through the swiss alps in a classic car. With Alex Turner showing that fast indie rock is not the only trick up his sleeve. "Calm like You" is a large swooping landscape yet again with ... yes you guessed it Alex Turner on lead vocals again but an enjoyable song all the least, referring to a realtionship falling apart " I am craving heartbreak as you are making your demands". "Separate and ever deadly now" and whats this? another voice? This must be the Miles Kane the 2nd shadow puppet as he's referred as. Miles earns his stripes in this song showing that he is not shadowed by Alex (Shadowed Gettit? Oh don't worry) The music is now getting quite samey now and dragging on but still a lovely accompiant to the stunning poetry of lyrics. "The Chamber" giving a different slant on a winning formalua with a story of a torture chamber probably? The Highlight of the album being "My Mistakes were made for you"
Strings, Guitar, Brass etc spot on. A chorus of "It was fame that put words in her mouth, she could'nt help but spit them out, innocence and arrogance entwined, in the filthest of minds" Timelessness is the only way to describe "MMWMFY". The remander of the tracks are all the same in the way that there is nothing more to the album than the tracks i've outlined.
If it was only 6 tracks i would have said that the album was a masterpiece. But the other tracks let it down slightly showing that Timelessness is a good thing but trying to the same thing all over an album is not a very good thing.

Andrew Snickett
(1st Review)
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on 25 May 2008
I like Alex Turner's voice so as he sings most of the time he is on to a winner already.
They manage to make the 60s retro sound interesting (Duffy how come you can't). Quirky lyrics well delivered. Not bad at all.
Busy production and orchesteral/big band sounds means it doesn't make it all the way through very often in out house.
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VINE VOICEon 24 May 2008
In the crush to acclaim the side project of Artic Monkeys figuregead Alex Turner as some work of genius a couple of points seem to have been lost. There is no way that The Last Shadow Puppets are going to out-sell the Monkeys, and its a dangerously thin line between homage and pastiche.

And however much you make like this album, it's difficult to escape from the fact that it may ape the likes of Lee Hazlewood and Scott Walker but it never really threatens to break out from that shadow.

The plus points are that it is a very effective pastiche and, clocking in at just over half an hour, it breezes past without dragging.

Still, as accomplished as it is, it lacks that X-Factor and you can't help feeling that if a unheard of Joe Bloggs presented this to the world the clamour to acclaim it wouldn't be as strong. Still, it will tide you over until Turner unleashes the next Monkeys album.
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