Review by Shannon Shumaker
It’s a little ironic that The Last Shadow Puppets sophomore release is titled Everything You’ve Come to Expect, because for the most part, it is the exact opposite. In the eight year gap between albums, it seems that the collaborative group has had the chance to hone in on the exact sound that they’ve created on Everything You’ve Come to Expect, and while it still has some of the same theatricality as The Age Of The Understatement, it feels a bit bigger, fuller and more importantly, very polished.
“Aviation,” the opening track of the record, definitely does a fantastic job of hooking you right away with tense string instruments before diving into echoey instrumentals and captivating vocals. The theatrics are there right from the beginning, and are a driving force not only in the first song, but the entire album. Where “Aviation” feels more haunting and tense, “Miracle Aliner” is groovy and mellow, soothing and easy to listen to. It seems that Alex Turner’s time with Arctic Monkeys in the past eight years has had an effect on the sound of this record, as well - how could it not? In “Miracle Aliner,” Monkeys fans will hear a bit of the sounds that can be found on tracks such as “Mad Sounds” or “Firesides,” but make no mistake, this is most certainly not an Arctic Monkeys album, and that definitely isn’t a bad thing.
One of the strongest tracks on the album is the third song, “Dracula Teeth.” The theatrics are at a high point on this track, which is littered with stunning string arrangements and captivating vocals. The balance between the distorted guitar work, thick bass, and soaring string instruments is flawless - they seem like sounds that wouldn’t work together but absolutely do. By the time “Dracula Teeth” is halfway through, it’s obvious that Everything You’ve Come to Expect was well worth the wait.
The only real downside on this mellow, moody album is that many of the songs tend to stay on the same level, blending together easily. You may have to hit repeat a couple of times throughout your listen, especially if you’re not giving it all of your attention, but once you do, the little quirks of each song will stick out, setting them apart from one another. “Bad Habits,” for instance, is very groovy and upbeat, but there are these tense moments instrumentally that make you uncomfortable and catch your attention - it’s perfect, just what the middle of the album needs. The combination between the full band (especially the vocals and bass work) with the orchestra is particularly strong in this song. It’s chaotic and insane, and it probably shouldn’t work, but it totally does. It’s the perfect three minutes of chaos to shake things up.
It seems that, with the turning point of “Bad Habits,” Everything You’ve Come to Expect only gets bigger and more theatrical as it moves forward. Soulful vocals carry “Sweet Dreams, TN,” while “Used To Be My Girl” hosts more tense, chugging instrumentals. “She Does The Woods” is absolutely remarkable. This third to last song hosts many different sounds and moods, much like “Bad Habits,” going from dark and eerie to beautiful and bright in the blink of an eye. Again, the chaotic change in sound is just what the album needs to stand out.
Everything You’ve Come to Expect may or may not be what listeners expected from The Last Shadow Puppets sophomore release, but there’s no denying that it was well worth the wait. The theatrics are at an all time high on this album, and while at first, it threatens to stay true to its title and play it safe, there are quite a few songs that really shake things up enough to keep listeners interested. Everything You’ve Come to Expect is a hit.
Listen to "Bad Habits"
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