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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
The Last Shadow Puppets
The Age of the Understatement
Domino

Rating: 7/10 ?


April 11, 2008
Like some Maxim scribe I was already writing this one in my head before listening to the album. Something with "pip-pip"s and "cheerio"s and maybe a "boppy" to describe this little Alex Turner baby that, I figured, would sound just like his Arctic Monkeys, only maybe a bit cuter, and we'd all say "Aww" and give it a listen and pat it on the head, shake hands with Miles Kane and any family members present and then forget about it a few weeks later.

It's okay to be wrong sometimes. Turner and Kane's out-of-wedlock love child is one of those really smart ones, the very nearly sad ones, who will compare itself to Nick Cave and Robbie Williams and the Mamas and the Papas all in the same apple sauce-demanding sentence and be totally serious about it. He also smokes and listens to a good bit of Morrissey and the Clash.

The story is that Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane of the Rascals/the Little Flames wrote an album together. They got producer and percussionist James Ford to sit in on drums, and approached Owen Pallet (Final Fantasy, The Arcade Fire) to add a few subtle strings to be performed by the 22-piece London Metropolitan Orchestra.

They're calling themselves The Last Shadow Puppets and they've named their chain-smoking child The Age of the Understatement, though it won't be birthed until later this month, with Domino providing midwifery for the hype (check the YouTube "trailer"). The album comes together as a nearly-frenetic timeline of glimpses into some cinematic life, played out in spaghetti westerns and sexy 007 movies (but not the Timothy Dalton ones).

The album's opener and namesake, "The Age of the Understatement," is one of the best tracks; a three minute chase scene where Kane and Turner can perfectly showcase their complimenting vocals. "Standing Next to Me" picks up one studio lot over, as they whisk us off on a train, with a view and a martini. Throughout the album, the Monkey and the Rascal stick with a little touch of reverb that serves to provide each track with just a bit more gravity. And for the most part, little extras like bells and brassy horns create a movie-like landscape flush with suspicious characters and bittersweet memories. Seriously, at least three of these songs could be James Bond closers.

Pallet's whole orchestra bit can border on excess, but the strings usually reign themselves in before going over the edge - except on "The Chamber," where it's fallen in the pool, tropical drink in hand and ladies unimpressed. What does impress is the absence of Arctic Monkeys and the balance that Turner and Kane have achieved together to create something entirely other.

"The Age of the Understatement" is weirdly epic (Nick Cave), full of harmony (Mamas and the Papas), a little charming (Robbie Williams) and dead fucking sexy (any James Bond but Timothy Dalton). Who knew?

Reviewed by Patrick Sullivan
Wearing plain black t-shirts, LAS contributing writer Pat Sullivan thinks a lot about a lot of different things. He likes thermoses but rarely has occasion to use them. He lives in Brooklyn.

See other reviews by Patrick Sullivan

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