The thing is with Arctic Monkeys latest album, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino‘ it isn’t actually that bad. It just could be better. Hit with harsh criticism, but also huge praise it’s been an album which has divided a fanbase in two whilst also managing to be the fasted selling vinyl record in 25 years. With the band starting off with two indie-rock defining albums, ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ and ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, the band started to take a turn towards this more sultry, piano lead music on their third offering ‘Humbug’. So it’s hardly a surprise that they’ve returned to this style after all, but they’ve done so whilst killing off their earlier indie-lad-rock side whilst maturing into ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’.
‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ finds the band taking on a sound which exudes something of luxury, something more sultry, hypnotic and even psychedelic in ways. Vocally, it’s pretty much just a monologue from Alex Turner rambling on throughout the sometimes dramatic, also piano based tracks. It’s clever though and still contains their unmistakeable wit. It starts off as something which is listenable but as the album progresses (beyond the album’s namesake) it just gets monotonous. It’s listenable, but it’s just not exciting. The only highlights of the album are album opener ‘Star Treatment’, out-of-this-world ‘American Sports’ and almost power ballad attempt album closer, the uniquely named ‘The Ultracheese’.
Overall it just feels like they’ve been spending too much time with Mini Mansions (Alex Turner appeared on their 2015 track Vertigo and Tyler Parkford plays keys on this album) and its rubbed off just a bit too much. Mini Mansions certainly could have done a better job of this anyway. It’s a good album if you listen to it in one go and there are stand-out tracks but it just feels overindulgent in itself.