Band: Arctic Monkeys
Release: Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
Date of release: 11 May 2018
Genre: Indie Rock
Reviewer: Renae Barber
Record Label: Domino
“Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” seems to be a fusion of the bands 2013 album “AM”, Alex Turner’s side project The Last Shadow Puppets and a 1950’s themed Black Mirror episode. In a coming-of-middle-age record the band paint pictures in retrograde of a time long before the peak of 00’s alt rock they’re best known for, with their most vinyl-friendly record to date.
This album is definitely not for the fans of “AM”’s crowdpleasers, but really for anyone ready to sit through 40 minutes of Alex Turner’s rambling through a vocal filter as he makes a return to the vintage electric keyboard.
In terms of lyrics, it’s good to hear the Tumblr poetry’ of “AM” has been coaxed into such notoriety that the line “Hitchhiking with a monogram suitcase miles away from any half-useful imaginary highway” reaches our ears within the first minute of the album like there’s nothing to see here.
‘Star Treatment’ is more Hollywood and western influenced, bringing about an interesting flow of nonsensicality. ‘One Point Perspective’ and ‘American Sports’ genuinely make me question where Turner gets his lyrics - if he points at random pages in a book or really is just one level above our comprehension. It’s a staggering reminder that TBHC is much further detached from humanity than the rest of their discography, their heads are in the stars. The title track is slightly more of a breath of fresh air than the previous 3 runs of near similar songs.
Jumping ahead to ‘Batphone’, my personal favourite - this was one of the simplest yet most characteristic tracks, transporting you into the world of a super villain movie scene. For those who argue indifference throughout this album I’d use this track as a counterargument. ‘The Ultracheese’ seems to be the fan favourite, the waltz timing is easy to get lost in and a pleasant end to the album.
In all honesty, “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” left me missing moments of infectious melody towards the end of “AM” and emotional outburst in “Favourite Worst Nightmare”. But the band’s trademark bass tone has grown up and into it’s new skin and it makes me a lot more okay with where the band have headed. I’m really looking forward to what this brings.
Songwriting Integrity : 8/10
Personal Enjoyment: 7/10