Review: ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ marks new start for band

Arctic Monkeys incorporates sounds from previous albums, new elements added

Courtesy of Domino.

Courtesy of Domino.

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Five years after the release of its 2013 successful album “AM,” English rock band Arctic Monkeys came back on the scene with its newest album, “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino,” on Friday, May 11, 2018.

Arctic Monkeys are back after a four year hiatus, and no one saw the announcement of their new album coming. In 2016, photos surface of the band in the studio recording new music, then in 2017, Bassist Nick O’Malley confirmed that the band had begun recording a new album. And on April 5, 2018, they announced the name of the album along with a release date.

The album is similar to the works of Father John Misty and David Bowie and has a serious, somber mood, but also manages to keep various sounds present from the band’s previous albums. Overall, “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” has an almost ‘lounge pop’ sound, with jazz influences and various other instruments the band has never played on their albums before. Singer Alex Turner swapped out the guitar for the piano because the guitar “stopped giving him ideas,” he said on a BBC 1 Radio interview.

Before the album was released Arctic Monkeys chose not to release any singles ahead of time. However, “Four Out of Five” was performed on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon a day before the release of the album and was accompanied by a music video  that released on May 13, 2018. The song reminds listeners of the band’s 2011 album “Suck It and See,” as they both have sounds similar to music from the past which makes listeners feel nostalgic. The piano in the beginning creates an eerie feel, and the accompanied music video does an amazing job in portraying the aesthetic and feel of the song.

In the first track, “Star Treatment,” Turner recalls a time when he “wanted to be like The Strokes.” The Strokes had a significant impact on the Arctic Monkeys when the band was starting out. Turner spoke out about why he loves the album “Is This It.” He talks about how the band is why he and the rest of the band members are doing what they’re love: making music. The almost six-minute long track introduces the new sound with a beautifully composed intro, with the organ and piano playing an eerie melody that works itself into the rest of the song. It makes the song feel dreamy and it’s also reminiscent of their past music. Turner’s grim tone of singing voice adds the perfect touch to an already amazing tune.

“One Point Perspective” and “The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Flip” from the album lack interest and they sound the same. The tracks also don’t captivate the listeners. Throughout the album too much focus is on the instrumentals and not enough is placed on the vocals. And the album also lacks dimension, almost as if Tuner sings every word in a black and white monotone voice. This doesn’t make the album bad, but it makes it feel hollow and emotionless.

This is definitely Arctic Monkeys’ weirdest album to date; with the abstract songwriting and new instruments, fans will either love it or hate it. The album deserves four out of five stars because even though the instrumentals and lyrics are something never before heard on an Arctic Monkeys record, it definitely lacks emotion and variance.

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