Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys finally make their long awaited comeback with the highly
anticipated Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino. Avoiding releasing any single prior to release and only offering the most brief teases, Arctic Monkeys opted to let their fans dive into these oddly titled songs with a complete fresh perspective. With AM being five years ago, do the Arctic Monkeys successfully return the scene with ease and wit that we’ve come to expect?
It all depends on your perspective. Die-hard fans of AM hoping for slick guitar riffs along a hip-hop beat may be disappointed. Fans looking for a return to their faster tempo may turn away as the majority of the album is set to the back drop of piano and Turner’s signature croon. However, despite these two conditions, Arctic Monkeys have successfully crafted a more than satisfying 6th entry to their discography. With piano and keyboards taking the limelight of the album, Alex Turner and company are opened up to new creative ways to craft their new imaginary hotel.
Pair this with some David Bowie inspired melodies and the Arctic Monkeys have
an entirely new world of songwriting possibilities that they completely have to their advantage. The group have distanced themselves from filling this album with ballads, helping aid this record in its refreshing change of pace. “Star Treatment” opens up sounding like a song that you would hear in a high end hotel, completely with quirky guitar breaks and warming vocals. “One Point Perspective” brings a wonderfully blissful keyboard chord progression before a distorted guitar stretches itself like a bolt of lightning across its sky.
“Four Stars Out of Five” is wonderful as it serves as a psychedelic/cosmic invitation for the fictional hotel as it switches between a faster,
guitar led verse and slower piano and crooner dominate chorus. “She Looks Like Fun” is a delightfully strange and ever-changing tune that could easily be snuck somewhere onto “Abbey Road.” However, this album is not perfect. “Batphone” rambles on and on without much appeal to hold your attention.
It’s fairly obvious that Arctic Monkeys have no interest in repeating their past endeavors.
Cashing in on the success “AM” had brought would be too easy for Arctic Monkeys. Subverting all expectations and diving head first into some stranger territory with new instrumentation is a massive risk that pays off dearly here, though it may turn away some people coming in with different expectations. “Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino” is not a perfect record, but it’s wacky lyrics and songs titles bring an enjoyable show and is comfortable enough to warrant you stay another lunar night.
By Caleb Ortiz