Review: Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

A week ago, Arctic Monkeys invited us (and the rest of the world) to discover visit their new record social reinsertion facility for troubled inmates.

We had no choice but to pack our bags and brace ourselves for the adventure of a lifetime. Here’s the review diary of our one-week stay at the Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.

Friday 11st, 2018

9:00 Press turntable start button. Repress hysterical laugh hearing Alex Turner voice on a new song for the first time in ages. Best LP first line ever.

9:02 Mmh. Star Treatment seems to be a slow start. Bold choice for a first song. Pretty sure it’s gonna get punchy in a few seconds, anyway.

9:04 Any minute now… Any minute.

9:05 *Eyeroll* How long is this song anyway ? *Checks* Six minutes ?! Ok. Waiting for second song to start now. Should be a powerful rock explosion… We hope.

9:06 Nope. Still not. What the frack happened to the guit…Ah ! Matt Helders tries someth… no. No he doesn’t… Or did he ?

9:12 Ooh I like this one ! Always been a fan of dirty synthetic harpsichords. What’s the name of track 4 again ?

9:20 Starting to feel like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation. Depressed, lost and high, waiting for a shady elevator to get me to my floor. A floor covered with horrid-faded-flowers-from-the-seventies wallpaper. In a good way, though. The album wears its name well. But, you have to be in a particular mood to enjoy it fully.

9:23 Always been a fan of slow songs, but this is missing a sublime track. If you want to play it like Bowie, where’s your Life on Mars ?

9:24 Loving the Pink Floyd-y atmosphere, loving the bass lines… But going a bit Jack Torrance here.

9:25 All piano and no guitar makes The Gourgandines dull girls. All piano and no guitar makes The Gourgandines dull girls. All piano and no guitar makes The Gourgandines dull girls. All piano and no guitar makes The Gourgandines dull girls. All piano and no guitar makes The Gourgandines dull girls. All piano and no guitar makes The Gourgandines dull girls. All piano and no guitar makes The Gourgandines dull girls.

9:32 Science Fiction kinda sounds like Gainsbourg, doesn’t it ? I love Serge. And right there : Bowie meets R’n’B ? Don’t know why, but I like it.

9:42 Mixed feelings. No song really stands out. But we’re definitely intrigued. Will have to hear this LP again.

Sunday 13rd, 2018

12:45  Plays track 1.

12:46  Stops to play track 4 (Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino). Really don’t get this hype about Four out of Five. Except for the moon-based taqueria concept of course.

12:49 Plays track 4.

12:52 Plays track 4.

15:46 Plays track 4.

15:50 Plays track 5 (Golden trunks).  Hey ! This one sounds like a Ghost’s song ! #sorrynotsorry

15:52 Plays track 4…

19:58 Ok, there might be a thing going on with track 4… definitely planning to cheat on it with track 5.

Monday 14th, 2018

07:45 Mysteriously woke up to She looks like Fun… funny how your brain can play tricks on you. Turns on Spotify. Tranquilityyyyy baaasse… ooh, suggestions : “Tonight” by Franz Ferdinand !

07:46 LUCID DREAMS I’M LEAVING IN LUCID DREAMMMMS !!! Trading one Alex for another. One with a guitar.

19:54 SHE LOOKS LIKE FUN ! SHE LOOKS LIKE FUN ! SHE LOOKS LIKE… Wait. “No song really stands out”. Could this mean they ALL do ?

Wednesday 16th, 2018

13:35 Highly intoxicating LP. Might seem a little bland at first but it definitely grows on you. They might even have used a guitar at some point.

Thursday 17th, 2018

11:15 Amazed by the infinite shades of this album. Eveytime we listen to it, we discover some new arrangement detail and the LP sounds better.  It’s like looking at a diamond. And we are material girls…

17:20 And the winners of the TBHC Contest are : Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino ! Golden Trunks ! Ultra Cheese ! American Sports !  She Looks like fun ! Science Fiction ! All the damn songs except Star Treatment ! No one likes Star Treatment !

Friday 18th, 2018

08:03 Starting to like Star Treatment.

Check Out

We would have loved hating this record, but we don’t. We definitely don’t. Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino is a beautiful place, an ambitious project, and we’d been glad to stay more. So much to discover here. What could have been a pompous exercise turns into an elegant journey throughout multiple musical references. Who runs the place ? Definitely Alex Turner, at his bandmates expense. And yet, the coherence and the great production almost makes us forget this Arctic Monkeys album is more of a solo project.

And you, what do you think of this record ? Hit or miss, what’s your opinion ?

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