The English band returns with an adventurous, heavily orchestrated album filled with enigmatic songs of love, longing, and doubt.
To make a point, or at least the sort of point that Alex Turner might try to make, it’s good to get a little lost. The 36-year-old singer is in the midst of transforming Arctic Monkeys, one of the biggest rock bands of the new millennium, into a lovesick, debonair lounge act. At their recent live shows, throngs of fans go mad at the hint of a familiar drum beat or guitar riff, scenes that might lead you to suspect England had won the Euros, not that a wry group of Northerners had taken the stage in flared pants to sing about space hotels, espionage, and, sure, looking good on the dancefloor. After the heights of 2013’s AM, a swaggering album that rejuvenated Arctic Monkeys’ career, Turner turned inward and upward on 2018’s Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, exposing his fears and desires obliquely, through the concept of an elaborate resort in the cosmos, watched over by Big Brother and populated by desperate ghouls dancing to the sultry notes of piano and synthesizers. It’s the most intimate Turner had ever been, opening up with the safety of fiction and metaphor.