Live review: The Last Shadow Puppets (3 stars)

Live review: The Last Shadow Puppets

credit: Zackery Michael

Turner and Kane tout sleazy fuzz rock

When Alex Turner and Miles Kane first met no one could have possibly guessed at the direction of their future collaborative project The Last Shadow Puppets. Back in 2005 Kane was fronting scrappy indie scoundrels Little Flames (and later The Rascals) as they supported Arctic Monkeys. Any bookmaker would have given good odds on similarly rambunctious rock sounds from any future partnership.

As their bromance flourished they revealed a shared love of vintage soul, 60s pop and Scott Walker. 2008's The Age of Understatement was recorded in just two weeks and looked like a one-off project as Turner and Kane returned to their day jobs. Now after almost eight years the Puppets are back for album number two and a brief jaunt around the UK.

Kane and Turner saunter on as 'Calm Like You' swells into life. Even the sleazy fuzz rock of 'Bad Habits' is given a glossy sheen by the onstage string quartet (accompanying the three-piece backing band featuring bassist Zach Dawes, keyboardist Tyler Parkford, both from Mini Mansions, and drummer Loren Humphrey of NY band Guards). Seamlessly seguing into the galloping swirl of 'The Age Of The Understatement' the stage drenched in crimson fog. With second album Everything You've Come to Expect still unreleased there's an inevitable lull during the new material (the slow grooves of the title track move into Luther Vandross territory) but TLSP are back on track with 'My Mistakes Were Made For You', rock workout 'Only The Truth', the bombastic 'In My Room' that could be a domestic, suburban James Bond theme or intriguing rumbling Beatles cover 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)'.

Turner is a more engaging frontman but Kane is no slouch switching from rasping vocals to lead guitar. It would have been nice if the strings were higher in the mix, especially as it's what sets them apart from their peers. The influence of Scott Walker sometimes verges on pastiche, album number two feels like it might tread very familiar ground but the Puppets are at least reaching for something different in a world awash with middle of the road indie schmindie.

Set list:
'Calm Like You'
'Bad Habits'
'The Age Of The Understatement'
'Miracle Aligner'
'Separate And Ever Deadly'
'The Chamber'
'The Element of Surprise'
'My Mistakes Were Made For You'
'Only The Truth'
'Dracula Teeth'
'Everything You've Come to Expect'
'The Meeting Place'
'Sweet Dreams, TN'

'In My Room'
'I Want You (She's So Heavy)'
'The Dream Synopsis'
'Standing Next To Me'

The Last Shadow Puppets also play T in the Park, Sat 9 Jul.

The Last Shadow Puppets

String-soaked side project of Arctic Monkey Alex Turner and chief Miles Kane, whose debut album, The Age of the Understatement was awash with John Barryesque retro cool.

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