Arctic Monkeys release full-length ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’

by Paige Ardill

Arctic Monkeys release full-length ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’

Arctic Monkeys
Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Domino Recording Co. · May 11, 2018

Arctic Monkeys release full-length ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’

With a burning cigarette in one hand and a crystal glass of whiskey in the other, the Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino exudes a luxurious richness that deserves nothing less than to be played in a mahogany paneled bedroom done up with velvet couches, satin sheets, and the vague intrigue of apathy.

Five years after the release of their critically acclaimed AM (and a brief interlude by Alex Turner with his return to The Last Shadow Puppets), the Arctic Monkeys have made their sultry return. Moving away from their heavy-handed guitar riffs and punk rock predecessors, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino instead channels its suave angst into what can only be described as space-age jazz in a smokey lounge setting (in the best way possible).

Originally composed by Turner on his Steinway Vertegrand piano, much of the sound is inspired by classic french albums such as Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson and François de Roubaix’s score for Le Samouraï. Beyond the layered percussion and guitar come chimes of dolceola, organ, and harpsichord that add a rich obscurity to the album’s sound that echoes and melts into Turner’s reverberating vocals. Lyrically, the album becomes a fluid yet abstract story of consumerism, religion, politics, and technology that draws heavy influence from science fiction and french film. In an interview with BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, Turner noted the different approach he had taken in his writing process this time around, stating that he had become “less concerned on this album [with] compartmentalizing every idea to the point where each song became this episode that starts and ends in three minutes”. Turner also emphasized Leonard Cohen’s influence in taking “a different perspective on each lyric’s relationship with its context.”

The album’s sound, though immensely cohesive, relies on its slight variation; songs such as “American Sports”, “The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip” and its title song “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” embrace a Timber Timbre vibe that come across as menacing and sexy, whereas “The Ultracheese” acts as a nostalgic adieu that is carried by a smooth piano melody, chopped up with oddly timed pauses and baritone guitar strums. It’s soft, it’s sexy, it’s a little strange, but it all feels so right.

From punk to pop, grunge rock to alternative lounge space jazz, the variation and talent of the Arctic Monkeys is indisputable. As for the rating of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino? Four (plus one) stars out of five.

Listen to Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino here: