The release of Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino, being the sixth studio album by the beloved British group, Arctic Monkeys was long-awaited for me, and I’m sure a lot of other Arctic Monkeys fans out there.
Personally I feel like it lived up to its standards. The album was announced fairly abruptly, breaking the band’s five-year hiatus since their critically acclaimed album AM, which is one of my personal favorites and I’m sure a lot of other people’s, though it is the most popular.
It’s really difficult trying to accept the way your face looks on camera, because I hope this isn’t how I look in real life. I will be comparing Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino a lot to AM in this review, because I think there are a few general similarities between the two releases that will support my opinion.
Though they’re two very different albums, I do feel that Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino follows the same kind of motif as AM does, while still breaking the mold a little bit. Though thematically it seems like the band is going in a different direction, they still use the same kind of sound and instrumental technique that they always have.
Alex’s vocals haven’t changed very much. Still iconic and beautiful as usual.. but you know, it still has the same kind of sound. He’s not using any different styles.
When listening to this album in the car he sounded like early-era-70s-David Bowie which I agree with, and I’m sure a lot of other people have heard and made that connection.
We still get that classic composed, loud bass that’s classic and trademarked by Arctic Monkeys. It’s sometimes mirrored in this album by this like boosted grainy scratchy guitar that kind of mirrors the bass tab, which I think is kind of cool.
This can be heard on track Four out of Five.
In this album you can also hear them using that synth, organ sound. But it’s more prominent. This can be heard on tracks like American Sports, World’s First Monster Truck (Front Flip) and Batphone.
I’m actually kind of liking this sound it’s giving it more of this eerie circus-type vibe. It’s a very psychedelic sound that I often associate with the cover of Favorite Worst Nightmare, because that cover is kind of like you know psychedelic, and cool and I just think synth sound.
It reminds me of the cover of that album for some reason. Thematically, this album is still dark and moody… but it has less of a romantic focus and it’s more focusing on the group rather than just Alex’s love life.
If you know what I mean, it’s more about celebrity treatment and, On past albums by Arctic Monkeys we’ve gotten a good mix of slow and fast songs, loud and quiet songs, and on this album I’ve noticed it’s all just kind of this one tone that doesn’t change very much throughout.
For example we have the last two songs on AM: Knee Socks and I Wanna Be Yours. On Knee Socks we have a very guitar focused, fast-paced, alt-rock kind of sound.
I Wanna Be Yours it’s more of a slow, vocal focused track. Another good example of this is from Favorite Worst Nightmare. We have Old Yellow Bricks to 505. Old Yellow Bricks is comparable to Knee Socks and 505 is comparable to I Wanna Be Yours.
On Tranquility Base we do not get a drastic difference from track to track, which can make the album feel a bit monotonous because it does have just one overall tone, but it does make this album feel a bit more like a concept album and it does show the maturity and progression in the band’s discography.
The closing song on Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino, The Ultracheese, is comparable to other closing songs of the Arctic Monkeys albums. Like 505, I Wanna Be Yours and The Jeweller’s Hands, it has a slow, chill, goodbye kind of vibe to it.
I’ve also noticed that the composition of this song is quite similar to No.1 Party Anthem from AM. It kind of follows the same motif, has the same guitar, the same rhythm.
My four favorite songs off of Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino were: Star Treatment, Golden Trunks, Four out of Five, and She Looks Like Fun.
Also published on Medium.