I pressed play on this album with a healthy dose of skepticism. Spinoffs so early in the career of over-hyped indie rockers rarely bare fruits. Granted this is an Arctic Monkeys side project, but to me that doesn’t even really provide much credibility. But from the first few notes, I was bought in. This record is at times dominated by that dusty swagger of Ennio Morricone spaghetti western soundtrack, at others it is a brooding Bryan Ferry inflicted drama. Much of this brought out by the always prevalent classical strings and horns backdrop that sets the tone to many of the songs.
There is still the issue of that very familiar vocal signature, which is both a tad nasal, but also oddly compelling conveyor of forward motion. In the end, from the black and white cover art to the almost gothic or Renaissance inflected vibe that the “Age of Understatement” gives there is a wonderful sense of time in place captured here that is really quite unique. Although the album goes by in a breezy 35 minutes songs like ‘My Mistakes Were made for You” and “Standing Next to Me” will be the ones I return to when the dust eventually settles.