The Last Shadow Puppets
The Age of the Understatement ( Domino, 2008 )
Unslushed because: Handsome packaging with a lovely full-color booklet that smells good. Recorded in France, which seemed exotic. On Domino Records—aren’t they cool or something? Good typography, although it bugs me when words such as “of,” “the,” and “to” are capitalized in song titles (see The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, 8.164).
Factors not initially considered: I later figured out that this is the new band of former Arctic Monkey Alex Turner. I never listened to the Arctic Monkeys: I think I was reacting to the hype, or perhaps to how old the hype made me feel. Old and bad. Another band member is named Miles Kane, also of the Rascals, even though there’s already another band called the Rascals. A really fcking famous band, Miles, for God’s sake. Maybe he’ll be forced to append a “UK” to the end of his Rascals. It would serve him right.
So I guess it’s good that I didn’t know who these guys were and selected the album mostly on the way the booklet smelled. I seem to be predisposed to view them as jackasses, however unfair that may be.
On further review: Very strong. Lush, energetic, widescreen production of sixties-inspired pop. The dramatic orchestrations don’t feel fussy or constricting: Rather, there’s an appealing openness that’s reminiscent of spaghetti Westerns and breezy cop shows. Smart lyrics. High-budget, for sure, but money well spent. And on a personal level, a lesson in prejudice. Out with the jive: I’m on these guys’ side.