After a five year wait, Georgia Evans delves into the new Arctic Monkey’s album ‘Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino’.
After what feels like decades of waiting for a new Arctic Monkeys album, here is ‘Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’. Carrying on with the same feel they had with the last album, there’s definitely old-school American influences. However, they are branching into new realms, playing with new styles and instruments. With obvious Bowie influences throughout, and swapping guitars for pianos or synths, the message is clear, a lot changes in 5 years.
‘I just wanted to be one of the Strokes’ Alex Turner sings on the opener, ‘Star Treatment,’ as the Bowie-esque guitars and piano drift in. He continues to produce poetic lyricism as he layers on harmonies, and introduces synths with the gentle plucking of guitars. As it has become evident in recent years, Turner is no longer the scrawny indie-rock frontman he used to be, he’s grown out his hair, got a new wardrobe and is now aiming to serenade with his Sheffield-tinged vocals.
As the album progresses to ‘American Sports’, the Bowie nods continue, with references to outer space and melodic synths in the background. Turner’s lyrics are on full display, often sliding verses into one another with ease, creating wonderful metaphors from the mundane. Yet it feels like an album made up of progressive tracks with no impact.
‘Four Out Of Five’ taps into themes of gentrification, advertising and social changes, but it goes heavy on the Bowie influences again, and brings to mind the time Last Shadow Puppets performed ‘Moonage Daydream’ at Glastonbury. Then there’s ‘She Looks Like Fun’ which has a very theatrical feel to it, with heavy pianos and a slightly unnerving voice booming ‘she looks like fun’ over and over. Nevertheless, it’s one of the stronger tracks in the album with a nice couple of guitar solos bouncing off one another.
Closing the album off is ‘The Ultracheese,’ which feels like a classic Turner ballad, with a vintage feel to it. He sings, ‘Dress like a fictional character from a place they call America in the golden age’ which what this album oozes, early Bowie and early 70s America.
However, there’s something missing from the collection, something that the classic Arctic Monkeys fan will pine after. There’s a sense of longing for more impact, a catchy chorus or triumphant guitar solo. It’s not a bad album in the slightest, it’s just incomparable to anything the band has done before, which will leave fans divided. For those who enjoyed Last Shadow Puppets and Turner’s solo work, this album will probably resonate more. One thing is clear though, Alex Turner really likes David Bowie.
Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino is out now.