By Johnny Papan
Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
“I used to want to be one of the Strokes, now look at the mess you made me make” are the opening lines of the almost pseudo-Sinatra like, piano-laden lounge tune “Star Treatment.” The song immediately sets the tone of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, jolting you into a land of blissful unexpectation. The album is just as much an experience as it is a musical portrait, a dream-like offering far different from anything Arctic Monkeys have released prior, building upon the group’s tendency to continually evolve with each cut.
Lyrically, the album explores themes of politics, religion, and perspectives of the future under the suave songwriting style of frontman Alex Turner. In many ways Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino feels like a series of diary entries. This is especially apparent in the record’s title track, which opens with a line about seeing Jesus at the spa. There are also references to reflections of the past, remembering old friends, and dancing around alone in your underpants. “She Looks Like Fun” tells the tale of someone living their wildest fantasies in the digital world of virtual reality.
It’s clear that the indie-punk days of Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not are over. For the last decade Arctic Monkeys have been perusing their own creative path, one far greater than what they may have imagined in their early days.
As a whole, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino takes musical influence from the past and mixes it with soundscapes and composition techniques of the future, also discussing subjects of the present and where it’s headed. It’s a heavy album to ingest, but like a fine wine, you must savour every sip. Pay attention to every flavour, only then will you understand its richness in quality.Arctic Monkeys