What a pair of teases. Since the release of The Last Shadow Puppets‘ debut album ‘The Age Of The Understatement’ back in 2008, Alex Turner and Miles Kane have spent the interim years dangling the carrot of a follow-up but never quite coming through with the goods.
In 2009, Kane said the pair were looking to record music that year, while in 2010 he confirmed that they would start recording again after he’d wrapped up his solo record. The same assertion was made again in 2012. In 2013, meanwhile, with no material having emerged, Alex Turner said that a second record was “on the cards”, that he didn’t know when, but he “certainly [didn’t] think it would be tomorrow”.
With hope diminishing, it looked like we could anything from six months, six years to a lifetime away from LSP Mk II. But then: a breakthrough. Briefly reuniting for a one-song encore of ‘Standing Next To Me’ at Arctic Monkeys’ epic Finsbury Park shows in 2014, Alex and Miles got the old band back together and it was a brief, four-minute reminder of exactly why it’d be a travesty for The Last Shadow Puppets to stay on the back-burner.
Though ‘The Age Of The Understatement’ contained many sonic traits now familiar to both – the sweeping, orchestral balladry that would manifest itself in Turner’s solo EP ‘Submarine’; the retro ’60s fixation of Kane’s solo work; Turner’s effortlessly lyrical turns of phrase – there was something in the alchemy between the two that set it apart. Pals since they made a “mind-blowing” connection playing on the same tour in 2005, The Last Shadow Puppets felt like a heartwarming window into their friendship, of nights spent poring over Scott Walker records and writing together just for the hell of it.
As they strode back out onto the Finsbury Park stage, arms around each other’s shoulders and soaking up the crowd’s excitable roars, you could see that quality is still there. At the time, both were in the midst of huge tours, but now there’s nothing stopping them from acting on it.
While the ever-increasing ascent of Arctic Monkeys is one of this century’s most exciting musical stories, it’s a high-stress job being one of the biggest bands in the world. You can’t really piss about when you’re headlining Glastonbury. But with The Last Shadow Puppets, the two are the embodiment of every young lad’s ideal of sharing a stage with your bezzie and living the dream. If you need further proof of the endearing nature of their friendship, then the viral video of the two dancing like excitable teens to The Strokes should suffice.
While both Miles and Alex have a bit of downtime, now seems like the perfect moment for Album Two. The equivalent of a musical vacation, you imagine it would make for a good grounding after ‘AM”s world-conquering, mic-dropping, sparkly-blazer-sporting run. And musically? Well, if Sam Smith has been deemed the best candidate to drum up a Bond classic, then surely the world needs The Last Shadow Puppets to remind everyone how sultry, atmospheric theatricality is really done.
The pair’s recent suggestion that they were planning to write an X-Men inspired film set in the ’60s would be an amazingly odd career curveball, but what we need now isn’t another bloody superhero movie – it’s for the pair to swoop in and crush music’s lacklustre, MOR villains with a new record.
Come on fellas, you know it makes sense.