Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Yes, But What About The Music?!

Mainstream musicians don't really seem to make grand sounding music anymore. I don't mean memorable or loud, I mean epic, in sound and scope. No mainstream act has recently really gone for it and made a "Stairway To Heaven" or "Kashmir". No high concept "Quadrophenia" style album. I think that's why the mainstream music critics, from NME to The Sun and back again, have gone a bit mad for The Last Shadow Puppets. No-one's really doing what they're doing at the moment. Two mainstream musicians (because, whether you like it or not, indie IS mainstream now) come together to make something out of their "comfort zone". Everyone hails them as daring and revolutionary. The problem is, this is pretty much the focal point of anything written about them.

I suppose you do have to kind of admire them for taking a chance and doing something different, not being content to just rest on their laurels. But this is all that virtually anyone who's written an article or song about them focuses on. The only thing they ever seem to write about the music is that there's a string section involved. Everyone's hailing the thing as genius simply because they're willing to try.

But if they had actually listened to the songs, without knowing there was an Arctic Monkey involved and they were trying something a bit different to what they normally would, then they would surely realise what a bunch of awful and cliched old toss it actually is. Two songs in particular keep getting played where I work. I can't remember the names of them, but one of them sounds like Arctic Monkeys were asked to do a soundtrack for a western film, so decided to rewrite "Knights Of Cydonia" by Muse. The other song that's keeps getting played (I think it's called "In My Room") is one that sounds like a really really bad James Bond theme tune. The whole thing just sounds like a bunch of rejected b-sides that have been dug up and had an orchestra super-glued to them to cover up any obvious gaping holes.

The Last Shadow Puppets album is a classic case of style over substance. See, it's all very well and good having ambition and trying something different, but if it turns out to be a bunch of dreary, drab and essentially unimaginative crap, you have to wonder what the point is. I guess though that the point is irrelevant when you're going to make loads of money from it regardless of whether it's actually any good or not.

Which, let's be clear, it isn't. The whole thing sounds like an attempt at re-creating some vintage soundtrack music. If that's what you're after, then buy some John Barry or Ennio Morricone. Leave this well alone.


Anonymous said...


schmemma said...

i'm glad i'm not alone in this..everyone at work seems to be going nuts over it, so i was starting to think that maybe it was just me..well said mr axl.

stevie said...

the first single is okay, but that is essentially because it sounds just like 'jackie' by scott walker (a cover of jacqes brel). check it out. it's pretty much the same song.