Album: The Last Shadow Puppets, The Age of Understatement (Domino)

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The Independent Culture

The Last Shadow Puppets is an Arctic Monkeys spin-off project, in which songwriter Alex Turner and his pal Miles Kane from The Rascals indulge their passion for sophisticated, grandiose pop.

These 11 co-written missives are urgent narratives and observations whipped to a froth of melodramatic intensity by Owen Pallett's dizzy, swirling orchestrations and littered with suitably elegant coinages like "innocence and arrogance entwined" and "the one you fell for makes everything juvenile".

The latter line, from "Standing Next To Me", hints at what the music confirms: that Turner and Kane are here mapping a more mature milieu, one where the sweat derives not so much from physical propulsion as from emotional tension. There's a pronounced Spanish tinge to songs such as the flamencoid "Black Plant" and the extraordinary "Only the Truth", where the bustling horns and whirlwind strings vividly evoke the protagonist's emotional turmoil. A brave undertaking.

Pick of the album:'Only the Truth', 'Standing Next To Me', 'Calm Like You'

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