[There’s often more behind the discovery of an album than just the music. Here’s S. Ziggy Zagami’s story of how he found “The age of understatement”. If you would like to share your One album – One story, we’d love to post it.]
Review by By S. Ziggy Zagami.
I have never shied away from the fact that Triple J is my favorite radio station, although within the indie music scene in Melbourne (AU) it may be seen as an almost commercial government-funded radio station, hence not as true as the fan-funded Triple R. But I think that their not-quite-commercial sound is a conscious decision to appeal to a broader audience, which is a good thing since unlike most radio stations, they do a lot in the way of finding and marketing some of the best new acts from around the world. Not to mention their dedication to the daily promotion of Australian music, their ‘Aus Music Month’ in November and their program ‘Unearthed’ where unknown bands can upload their songs and get a chance to be heard.
(You can check them out www.abc.net.au/triplej. There is also a link on the website where you can upload podcasts and stream their programs. I certainly haven’t found a station like this in Montreal where I’m currently living)
Back to the topic at hand. I was sitting in the car, which I did a lot of in Melbourne, listening to Triple J when I discovered ‘The Last Shadow Puppets’ and their debut album ‘The Age Of The Understatement’. You may have heard of this little band that hails from that dreary overcast part of the world known as England thanks to one of the founding members of the ‘Artic Monkeys’, a bloke by the name of Alex Turner. The other founding member is Miles Kane of “The Rascals”, formerly the “The Little Flames” who supported the “Arctic Monkeys” on their May/June 2005 tour of the UK. A friendship was born and consequently lead to a collaboration through which they started to share musical ideas. The band was round out by the producer James Ford of ‘Simian Mobile Disco’ who helped out with drums and arrangements for the 22-piece London Metropolitan Orchestra directed by Owen Pallett.
So sitting in that car of mine I was introduced to ‘The Last Shadow Puppets’ for the first time via the singles:
‘The Age Of The Understatement’
a song driven by galloping guitars, reminisces of an old western love story,
‘Standing Next to Me’
a fast paced lounge-esque song seemingly about heartache and love, which seems to be a resounding theme here.
‘My Mistakes Were Made for You’
a cruisey and haunting 70’s spy theme of you guessed it: love and lost love.
The album on the whole reminds me of a film noir full of tales of femme fatales making love to a haunting opera, through the simplicity of Turner and Kane’s clearly annunciated full English accent inflicted vocals, their dueling guitars and the light orchestrated music provided by the London Metropolitan Orchestra.
I think it’s a good fit because the film noir and the opera are tied with that theme of love and love lost. The subtle hint of punk rock lends a solid incisive texture without whom it might have sounded a little sappy.
This album does remind me of one that you might put on in a darkened room for the purpose of soothing an aching heart while having a moment of introspection.
It’s truly a fantastic album deserving many listens.
The first two singles definitely grabbed my attention, and I really recommend checking out the video clips of Turner and Kane in the recording studio performing “The Age Of The Understatement” and “Standing Next to Me” (www.theageoftheunderstatment.com)
In my humble opinion, this is the type of album where you become nostalgic of the song that just passed all the while anticipating the one to come next, kind of like smoking when you’re really dunk.