Posted by: Johnny Loftus on May 27, 2008 at 9:00 am

The Last Shadow Puppets, The Age of The Understatement (Domino, 2008)

Listen: “The Age of The Understatement”

Arctic Monkeys shouter Alex Turner joins with Miles Kane from the Rascals — no, not those Rascals, but a much younger and more likely bunch of scraggly-topped Brit rockers — and the result is The Age of The Understatement, the first output from their collabo as Last Shadow Puppets. And they sound a lot like Muse. No revelation there: it’s the first thing that hits you with the title track, it continues with the string section bombast of “Calm Like You,” and hits you during the ambitious tempo changes and additional strings in “Black Plant” and “I Don’t Like You Anymore.” And then you read the band’s Wikipedia entry, and discover that Kane totally admitted to lifting bits of Muse’s hit single “Knights of Cydonia” for his own hit single with Turner. It might be a new battle of the blokes for a new Brit pop century, were it not for Age of The Understatement feeling like the age of the too calculated. Turner’s a gifted lyricist, able to tear further into typical topics like frustration, sour relationships, and suspicion with more craft than most, and he uses that talent to great effect on Understatement. His vocals also mesh well with Kane’s, who sounds a lot like him. But with strings leaking from almost every measure of the record, and the choruses hitting at Shirley Bassey crescendo levels, and all the David Bowie love that begins to feel like preening, Last Shadow Puppets may have succeeded in making themselves into not a supergroup, but the English Panic at the Disco. — Johnny Loftus

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