Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

It’s been a whole year since the Sheffield rockers jetted off to the moon and created an entire hotel and casino (not forgetting that taqueria on the roof), but through the mist of “rave reviews”, we reflect on how Arctic Monkeys’ sixth studio album shook the musical world and left all expectations on their heads.

Alex Turner and co wrapped up the TBHC tour on April 7th, performing 90 shows along the way. Although inferior to its predecessor’s 150 show tour (AM), many points of interest surfaced along the way, from doing their biggest UK tour to date, to even a potential collaboration with Tame Impala mastermind, Kevin Parker.

Firstly, let’s take it back to the start. With Alex Turner having a hand in Mini Mansions’ single ‘Vertigo’, returning to his side project ‘The Last Shadow Puppets’ with best mate Miles Kane, and being involved with Alexandra Savior’s debut album ‘Belladonna of Sadness’, Monkey fans were starting to get anxious of how and when the Arctic’s would return. Of course, there was to be a return, but maybe not in the way that fans anticipated.

April 5th 2018 saw an unexpected announcement from the band, delivering the news that they would be increasing their ever impressive discography with the newest album, but the biggest shock would form from the fact that fans only had to wait 5 weeks for the release. The announcement was made via a short video that was shared through the bands Youtube and Social Media sites, with the subtle backing of an orchestra, before concluding with the gritty, hard hitting and album defining ‘Four out of Five’ riff.

This would then be followed by the Highgreen rockers announcing their biggest ever UK tour. Of course, it only took a matter of seconds for the ‘R U Mine?’ Svengali’s to sell out each and every show, add more shows, and inevitably sell those out in the blink of an eye.

The tour kicked off on the wrong side of the North Atlantic for UK fans (a trend that is becoming far too familiar for us British Monkeys), as the highly anticipated TBHC tour touched down on planet earth for the first time in San Diego on May 8th. This would see the start of a phenomenal 90 show display of how the ‘lounge lizard’ Alex Turner could transform the worldwide success of ‘AM’ into the driving force for the ‘Martini Police’ and their newest adventure.

Finally, the wait was over, 11th May surfaced and Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino was available. The controversial marketing decision from the band was not to release any singles prior to the album release. This was due to the fact that Turner wanted the album to be received as a whole, rather than as individual tracks. This lead to the album flying under many people’s radars, but certainly not the critics. The concept album from outer space received mixed reviews, and fairly so. Album opener ‘Star Treatment’ begins with Turner confessing “I just wanted to be one of The Strokes”, backed by a fresh sound of piano, and scruffily recorded drums. Combined with Nick O’Malley’s groovy bass riffs and Jamie Cook taking a backseat on this one, swapping six strings for the keyboard. All these parts move the track forward as Turner continues to croon, ooh and woo. Tracks ‘Four out of Five and ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino’ were later released as singles and inevitably became fan favourites within the album. With tracks ‘One Point Perspective’ and ‘The Ultracheese’ becoming popular on tour. Hidden gems such as ‘American Sports’ and ‘The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip’ round the album up beautifully. Arctic Monkeys had reinvented their sound and it paid off, it was nominated for the Mercury Prize Album of the Year, losing out to Wolf Alice’s incredible Visions Of A Life.

After Arctic Monkeys concluded what was surely their most playful tour yet, fans believe that they won’t have to wait anywhere near as long for the next record. Speaking in an interview a few months back, Matt Helders stated that “we like being in the studio, we’re keen on making albums”. The five year gap that was left between albums this time, has been acknowledged and Helders claims that “it’s not a pattern we’re going to get used to as a band”.

Matt Helders has been quite busy recently, with the ‘agile beast’ giving a helping hand to Milburn frontman Joe Carnall recently. The two Yorkshire buddies have been working on the side project, Good Cop Bad Cop. This to coincide with Helders’ new restaurant, Ambulo, and the prospect of even a solo album.

While Helders is cooking up a treat in Sheffield, Turner could potentially be in the middle of a Tame Impala collaboration. Referring back to the band’s interview with Beats 1 in August, Turner stated that “I’d love to float with Kevin…let’s float Kev”. With the interviewer questioning “is that an ask for Kev?” Turner interrupted “Yeah, I just said it twice, I’d float with Kevin…I think he’s brilliant, no doubt about that”. I guess all we can do is sit back and ‘let it happen’.

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