I recently caught wind of a little English comedy called “Submarine” about a kid desperately trying to lose his virginity. It wasn’t the plot or anything cinematic for that matter that caught my attention, but rather that Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys had a prominent role in the soundtrack.
Turner’s development as a musician has been very interesting to me for some reason. When he first hit the scene, he was scruffy kid from Sheffield who sang infectious songs about getting kicked out of clubs and moody girlfriends; amongst pummeling drums and heavy guitar riffs, the sound and affect they delivered was chockfull of youthful observation, but seldom more.
Favourite Worst Nightmare offered a degree of maturity with its slower, moodier songs like “Do Me A Favour” and “Only Ones Who Know” that put on display Turner’s ability to write not only pop jams but captivatingly depressing ballads as well. These proved to be the strength of the album, a strong suit for Turner. There was something desolately beautiful that made us think, “hey, maybe there’s more to these guys.”
Turner eventually teamed up briefly with Miles Kane of The Rascals for a Beatles-esque side-project called The Last Shadow Puppets. While they definitely put out a good track or two, most songs blurred together and sounded for the most part like it belonged in the end credits of a Bond film.
When Arctics released Humbug in 2009, fans were disappointed for the most part. Definitely an acquired taste, the album channeled something much more foreboding, yearning to be darkly philosophical. For the most part, it missed its mark because it wasn’t overtly relatable. In its defense (I actually rather enjoyed the album), it did prove that Arctics were growing up; a band can only sing about being young for so long.
Back to Submarine. This EP is proof of the songwriting talent Turner possess. It’s beautiful in all aspects; melodically understated yet solid and lyrically flawless. Turner can write. And he’s good.
Arctics are scheduled to drop their fourth album Suck It and See this summer. It will be interesting to see how the band redeems itself after a largely ill-received third album. Yet I have faith.
1. Arctic Moneys-The Bakery
2. Arctic Monkeys-Too Much To Ask
3. Arctic Monkeys-Only Ones Who Know
4. Arctic Monkeys-Cornerstone
5. The Last Shadow Puppets-My Mistakes Were Made For You
6. Alex Turner-Stuck On the Puzzle
7. Alex Turner-Piledriver Walz
8. Arctic Monkeys-Brick By Brick