Monday, July 07, 2008

Alex Turner Is The New Damon Albarn

I guess there is just something about über-hipster frontmen of wildly popular Brit-pop bands that makes solo and side projects somewhat an inevitability. While the smoky-voiced Londoner Damon Albarn made a name for himself leading Blur before going on to front super-group The Good The Bad & The Queen and two hip-hop infused Gorillaz albums, the smoky-voiced Sheffielder Alex Turner established his rep with Arctic Monkeys and is now lending his vocals to mini-super-group The Last Shadow Puppets and the hip-hop talents of Dizzee Rascal.

Turner and Miles Kane, of up-and-comers The Rascals, released their first album as The Last Shadow Puppets, The Age of the Understatement, in May on Domino. Their vocals meld perfectly, and it's often difficult to tell which one of them is singing at which point. The 1960s throwback sound of lush, symphonic orchestration somehow still remains simplified as pop, and the arrangements give the feel of spy movie mystery. While the Arctic Monkeys do what they do and do it well, this album (produced by James Ford, of Simian Mobile Disco fame) may alter the Monkeys' sound altogether, as Turner seems to be channeling Bowie and enjoying every minute.

Here is the title track:

Fellow Brit, Dizzee Rascal, released his critically acclaimed, Maths + English, earlier this summer as well, and Turner makes his appearance dropping the hook between Dizzee's grime-laden verses.

Fortunately for us, Turner is only 22 years old; considering what Albarn is still accomplishing at the age of 40, Turner is poised to dominate popular British music for decades to come.


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