Eight years after the release of their critically acclaimed album, The Age of Understatement, The Last Shadow Puppets have finally returned with their sophomore album, Everything You’ve Come to Expect. With the duo’s remarkable success with their first album, Alex Turner and Miles Kane set the bar high for themselves for their second album.
Perhaps these high expectations are what ultimately caused the disappointment that is this album. It seems as though the duo was so eager to gain the same amount of success they had with the first album that they sacrificed originality and played it safe. This is not to say that the album isn’t excellent in its own right. Rather it’s just that fans of The Last Shadow Puppets won’t be able to help but feel as though Everything You’ve Come to Expect is just subpar in comparison to The Age of Understatement, and will forever remain in the shadows of the first album.
Album openers “Aviation” and “Miracle Anger” seem more of an extension of the first album than anything new. The trademark blend of ’50s guitar twang and ‘60s pop orchestration is present in both of these songs. What seemed like a breath of fresh air in 2008 when Turner and Kane came out with this, now just seems out of date and overdone.
The title track, with its almost psychedelic sounds, may restore a bit of faith in the project. The muffled, underwater backing vocals and swinging rhythms provide an air of originality that the project so desperately needed. This is not a new concept that will set the band apart from others, but at least it gives hope to fans that the duo may be willing to experiment with new ideas and remain relevant in an ever-changing music scene.
Almost immediately after this flash of hope, however, the recurring theme returns with lead single “Bad Habits.” Essentially a Miles Kane B-side that will be tossed out despite its impressive string backing, the song just goes to prove just how important Alex Turner is to the duo. The eight-year hiatus between the first and second albums is assumedly due to the growing success of Turner’s main project, Arctic Monkeys, and perhaps lack of creative ideas.
Fans of The Last Shadow Puppets were skeptical of whether or not a second album would be feasible due to Turner’s now global recognition, but Miles Kane remained hopeful throughout the years. This fear that Turner would put less effort into the Everything You’ve Come to Expect becomes reality, and it is clear that Kane was the driving force behind this album.
“Sweet Dreams, TN” and “The Dream Synopsis” may be the album’s saving grace, however. On these softer, sweeter tracks of the album, Turner puts his famously sardonic croon to good use. The issue with this is that the only thing that makes these songs decent is Turner. What makes The Last Shadow Puppets so great is that Turner’s and Kane’s voices blend so nicely together. If songs become only Kane- or Turner-driven, it, in a way, ruins the point of being a duo.
The biggest problem with Everything You’ve Come to Expect is that it is this shiny, well-produced record that allows the duo to showcase their talents. What made The Age of Understatement so great is that it was made by these two doe-eyed 22-year-olds who were just looking to create good music. This desire to create something new and their own seems to have gotten lost in the sophomore album.
If there is to ever be a third album, the duo that makes up The Last Shadow Puppets needs to think outside of the box if they want the album to be as revered as their first.