It’s odd that an Arctic Monkey is in town for a few days yet there’s hardly any buzz about it — maybe it’s because the Boss is back at the same time, and maybe it’s due to a lacklustre second album from Alex Turner’s other band, the Last Shadow Puppets.
Eight years between records, and with the evolution of Arctic Monkeys in between, suddenly TLSP seem less essential.
Whereas first time round Turner was showcasing his songwriting chops, on Everything You’ve Come To Expect, released at the start of April, it seems like a baffling in-joke with lairy Oasis offspring Miles Kane. Yet they’ve sold out three nights at the Olympia — maybe it makes more sense live.
It doesn’t, really. Nine of its twelve tracks are played tonight, and while the best shine brightest, such as the stunning pop of ‘Aviation’ and ‘Miracle Aligner’, the likes of the title track and the Kane-led ‘Bad Habits’ are car-crash comedy.
Despite some orchestral members shoved to the left of stage, it’s impossible to take your eyes off the beguiling Turner though. He slinks around stage in sunglasses, vest, and neck scarf combo, striking poses like a cruise ship crooner.
Yet he’s a bona fide Rock Star, having replaced the coy vulnerability of 2008’s The Age of the Understatement (‘The Meeting Place’, tonight’s closing number, is still a drop-dead gorgeous stunner) with bulging cockiness. ‘Calm Like You’ sees Turner abandon the pretence and turn his neck scarf into a bandana.
With only two albums of material to draw from, things get stretched over this 90-minute set, bulked up with covers of the Beatles’ ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ and Leonard Cohen’s ‘Is This What You Wanted’.
It’s hard to know what exactly to make of TLSP. It’s an off-cuff sideproject that’s played for giggles. It almost makes less sense afterwards than it did before.
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