image courtesy of pitchfork.com
The Last Shadow Puppets have returned with that not-so-difficult-if-you’re-cocky-enough second album. The first was a great success- The Age of the Understatement went straight to number one in the UK in 2008- sending the duo of Alex Turner and Miles Kane to even farther heights than their respective solo music careers had already propelled them. Now they’re back, with the definitely not understated Everything You’ve Come to Expect.
They were kind for helpfully pre-warning us that the album holds no surprises. Swooning vocals that don’t seem to mean a lot, layered over lush sounding- but predictable- guitar strums make up the bulk of the record. Unlike its predecessor, Everything You’ve Come to Expect isn’t influenced by Scott Walker (the mutual love of the 80’s avant-garde composer is what brought Turner and Kane together in 2007), but it doesn’t provide a startling change in musical direction. Everything’s lyrics aren’t as interesting as the first record’s, just more vulgar, and the chauvinistic male-ego is still going strong.
‘Bad Habits’ is the highlight of the record. Unlike the slower ballads, this more upbeat number doesn’t need the lyrics to carry it; the punchy, driving bass line and striking, almost aggressive, string section are at the forefront of the track. You almost (almost) forget that they’re shouting about the things women will do to get a promotion. Generally it sounds more like something I want to hear from the rock-based duo; slick and sexy (instead of just remarkably creepy). This is fortunate, as it’s also the lead single. I just wish the rest of the album had followed in its supposed lead.
Everything You’ve Come to Expect is out now, and if you fancy standing amongst a throng of swooning teenage girls and mis-guided Scott Walker fans, the UK tour is doing the rounds over the next couple of months.