It’s a balmy night in Las Vegas…
Blurred neon lights decorate the sky overhead, and the chaos of the street leads you to duck into a small club off the strip. You make your way down a few crooked steps, past a bouncer who waves you inside with a curt nod and a curl of a lip.
Once inside, the smell of whiskey and cigarette smoke takes you by the hand and leads you to a cozy booth, offers you a drink. You might think you’re in an ordinary jazz club, but you could be in Alex Turner’s latest vision; Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.
The sixth album from British Indie Rockers, Arctic Monkeys is a left turn that delves far and away from the guitar-centered rock they have built their reputation on. Tranquility is at once dark and groovy, combining the punk attitude old Arctic Monkeys fans will recognize with a newfound spookiness. Where Jamie Cook’s guitar riffs once dominated most tracks, they now ring out in between keyboards and synthesizers that give the album it’s eerie energy. The album is a peculiar change from the traditional Arctic Monkey sound.
One thing that has not changed is Turner’s lyricism.
Every song is word heavy, and Turner paints pictures of sci-fi hotels and bars, commenting on technology, social ineptitude, and sometimes politics. On “Batphone,” Turner sings, “It’s the big night in Tinsel City. Life became a spectator sport.” … “Have I told you all about the time that I got sucked into a hole through a handheld device?” Without being terribly depressing, the album creates lonely feelings with lyrics like, “I’ve played to quiet rooms like this before.” on “One Point Perspective.”
At times, the songs can blur together, leaving me waiting for something more exciting to come along and break up the monotony. These moments do not last long though, and if you focus on decoding the lyrics, the album will remain interesting for many moons.
Any artist that takes the brave leap away from the familiar and into the unknown deserves credit. Whether or not the project is perfect, an album or song that flips the script and blazes a new trail is worthy of praise. Arctic Monkeys show no signs of getting stuck in a redundant pattern any time soon.
If you’re looking for an excuse to contemplate your place in the universe or feel like you’re hanging out in a fuzzy lounge in outer space, check out the latest project from Arctic Monkeys.
Watch Arctic Monkeys perform their song, “Four Out of Five” live on, The Tonight Show.