There’s a whole lot of power behind The Last Shadow Puppets: With Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner and The Rascals’ Miles Kane at the front, Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford on production, Mini Mansions’ Zach Dawes on bass and Owen Pallett on strings, it’s as big a supergroup as you could hope to find in the world of English rock. But while they explored the realm of baroque pop on their debut release The Age of the Understatement eight years ago, Everything You’ve Come to Expect might not actually be what you expect.
This time, they’re opting for the world of blues music, and despite not being quite as successful as their debut, it still carries its own merit. The most glaring flaw is the general diversity of the album, or lack thereof; while The Age of the Understatement featured extensive variation in its arrangements despite being a rather static record in terms of composition, Everything You’ve Come to Expect ends up relying a little too heavily on a blend of rock or blues instrumentals with sweeping strings slapped on top, giving most of the songs a similar identity.
Thankfully, the disparate moments are particularly good; Bad Habits swaps the sweeping string arrangements out for something akin to a horror movie soundtrack, with plenty of stabs and screeching lines accentuating the punchy rock arrangement at the base of the song. Miracle Aligner conversely features a more laid back rock sound that ends up matching the pace of the sweeping strings, bringing a sense of internal harmony to the track; similarly, The Dream Synopsis is as close as the album gets to a rock ballad, gathering all the album’s elements together to bring it to a quiet and fitting end.
By and large, however, Everything You’ve Come to Expect is a largely homogenous album; the songs mostly follow similar structures, sans the three most noteworthy songs on the album, and in turn makes it all blend together. That’s not to say it’s a bad sound to have; James Ford proves that he’s still an adept producer by making the album very pleasant to listen to, but it unfortunately remains too bland to achieve any lasting impact.