Monday, 14 May 2018

Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino: A Review

In an era defined by technology, nostalgia and the end of analogue, it seems only fitting that the Arctic Monkeys - whose earlier music was so deeply rooted in the physical experience - should head off into the virtual world. The new concept album, entitled Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino, revolves around a resort located on the moon, and traverses this environment in a deeply cinematic way. Recalling film theorist Gilles Deleuze’s  theory of the “any-space-whatever” – a jarring, disorientating arena – Alex Turner’s aural journey is reflective of the digital landscape: a media-saturated, disconnected platform that society is struggling to understand, yet alone keep up with.

Social commentary has been at the heart of the Monkeys’ albums since their beginning. From examining youth culture in early 2000s Britain to tapping into the collective consciousness with AM, each record has held up a mirror to society. With the last five years offering so much in the way of technological and cultural change – including VR, drones and endless political upheaval – it seems only natural that this record deals with media overstimulation and new forms of communication. Young people connect differently now – and this album acknowledges that, with a wink to the camera.

In this respect, Turner’s complex, hard-to-decipher and often self-referential lyrics encourage repeated listening, rewarding fans with a deeper understanding of the album’s rich tapestry and the singer’s internal monologue. A surprising yet strikingly timely departure, the collection repeatedly breaks the fourth wall whilst retaining a shrouded essence of the band's earlier work. Punctuated by pop culture references and sounds originating from the 1970s up to the present day, the album is a postmodernist masterpiece – nostalgic, self-aware and strikingly forward thinking. 

What did you think of the album?
Elly xxx


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