Top positive review
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The Age Of Understatement
on 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.