Following the release of Everything You’ve Come To Expect (their second album) earlier this year, The Last Shadow Puppets have promised the release of their The Dream Synopsis EP on the 2nd of December 2016. The tracklist is as follows:
- Les Cactus (Jaqcues Dutronc Cover)
- Totally Wired (The Fall cover)
- This Is Your Life (Glaxo Babies cover)
- Is This What You Wanted (Leonard Cohen cover)
- The Dream Synopsis
That is: two songs from Everything You’ve Come To Expect (“Aviation” and “The Dream Synopsis”), a cover of a 60s French rock and roll song (Jaques Dutronc’s “Les Cactus”), a folk-rock cover (Leonard Cohen’s “Is This What You Wanted”), and two Post-punk tracks from each end of England. So what is the focus of the EP? It seems to be a bit of a mish-mash of random rock songs. I can’t help but feel, with three songs likely to be sung by Kane and three by Turner, that this is more of a showcase EP: their character, their friendship and their life being pushed to the fore of their album.
And then there is the bromance that will undoubtedly feature throughout the EP, bordering on homoeroticism, as Turner sings about ‘You and me and Miles Kane’ in “The Dream Synopsis”. So too, the chemistry is on show in the accompanying video to “Is This What You Wanted”. This song is long though – another showcase piece, highlighting the friendship, it has over two minutes on the original, and swells into a slightly bloated track overly satiating. Its length and flamboyancy risk masking the emotive content of the lyrics.
The Last Shadow Puppets have been described as Baroque-pop, and certainly the maximalism of their art can have a very moving effect in particular songs. Turner’s voice, if compared to Cohen’s is very different – but not inadequate for this song. In fact, I rather enjoy Turner’s vocals on “Is This What You Wanted”. I just worry that Kane and Turner are lacking a little creative inspiration. The Cohen cover sounds exactly as one would expect their cover to sound – a prominent string ensemble, Kane’s emphatic guitar, and Turner’s husky voice. Is this what the whole album has in store? Will the two post-punk songs (almost certainly to be sung by Kane) sound eerily like “Bad Habits” from Everything You’ve Come To Expect? And how on Earth am I going to be able to suppress a small bout of laughter when I hear Turner struggle to pronounce ‘les cactus’ in his identifiable, Yorkshire accent?
There is no denying that they have the talent between them to carry the flag of a British rock renaissance – Turner truly is a fantastic contemporary lyricist. But, they need to find the artistic direction. From Turner’s Spotify playlist, I can see that he is looking in the right places: Marvin Gaye, Serge Gainsbourg, Nancy Sinatra, and Wu-Tang Clan to name a few.
Turner and Kane need to work on converting this inspiration into something unique. Then, from the disunity and incongruity that the tracklist would suggest, The Last Shadow Puppets can create something genuinely becoming of these rock-renaissance-stars.
Article by George Green