The Arctic Monkeys have released their sixth studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Armed with his upright piano, Alex Turner has forced listeners and critics alike to question if the band is retreating or advancing in another direction.
Overall the new album scratches an itch that has been ongoing for five years. With that said, the ENTIRE album sounds like a blend of deep cuts from outer-space and from the old cat lady's house down the street and Turner narrates the story to go with it. Personally, this album tears me apart because the songs I like, I really like. And the songs I care less for; I despise. LITERALLY the album itself is eerily familiar in way that it has been Fed Ex'd via a DeLorean DMC-12 to modern day straight out of the era of black and white film.
Not a single track off of Tranquility Base reflect any previous Arctic Monkeys album, but rather influence from Turner's other band, The Last Shadow Puppets is clearly evident. Perhaps the influence is postmodern art in terms of the abstract idea of what the album itself is.
"Star Treatment" feels like a familiar place, like you're staring up at a starry night, pondering the very existence of the universe; trance-like and lovely. Easily my favorite on the album. "Four Out of Five" is my next favorite song as it is melodic.
Well if you didn't know that the lead vocalist received a piano for his birthday, Turner lets you know he did. Many songs forfeit a lead guitar and showcase strong featuring of favor for the piano, probably the most surprising part about this album. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino itself feels lazily and nuanced. Its this paradox that forces a listen. In closing this is not my favorite album and I anticipated a lot more than what I got. After all the songs have played you can't decide if it was a bad acid trip or an illusion.
With all that said it is a lot easier to be a critic than a performer. This band is still one of my favorites and maybe I had my hopes too high? I will still be seeing them when they come to Boston. I do applaud the effort at the change up, but I was hoping for more rock than trippy lounge music.
Give the album a listen for yourself.