Long Live Vinyl’s pick of this week’s best new releases on vinyl, including the return of the Arctic Monkeys with their new album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
Arctic Monkeys
Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
(Domino)

Arctic Monkeys fans have grown accustomed to the band’s development from one album to the next. Nevertheless, many will be surprised at their sixth studio effort which, save for Alex Turner’s drawl, has little in common with what’s gone before – his whip-smart lyrics have been replaced with oblique cut-up-style non-sequiturs. With the frontman co-producing with James Ford, Tranquility… feels as if it should be credited as ‘Alex Turner Featuring Arctic Monkeys’, with guitarist Jamie Cook seeming particularly in the shadows. Instead, what we have here is more akin to Turner’s Last Shadow Puppets side project. The slinky soul-pop feel of opener Star Treatment sets out their new stall and, like previous album AM, there’s a nod to 90s R&B on the piano-led One Point Perspective. After a sleepy title track, Cook finally makes his presence felt (at least fleetingly) on Golden Trunks. The funky wriggle of old returns on standout Four Out Of Five, but The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip fails to live up to the promise of its wonderful title. The unifying factor throughout is Nick O’Malley, whose 60s-referencing basslines sound like Scott Walker and Pet Sounds filtered through an Air record. Too much, though, feels piecemeal and assembled from disparate fractured ideas. Ditching choruses, hooks and riffs, this will undoubtedly be divisive.

Beach House – 7Beach House
7
(Bella Union)

Pegged as something of a ‘rebirth’ album; a cleansing of the palate and the start of new beginnings and working ways, this seems to have paid off, as Beach House return with one of their finest records to date. Previous fans need not worry, this isn’t a sidestep into black metal or drum ‘n’ bass; their shift is a characteristically subtle one. The album is still loaded with infectious, immersive melodies that intertwine with the breathy, fog-like vocals and swirling guitars. Few can create such dreamy, melancholic – yet pop-tinged – worlds as well as this duo, and they’ve crafted some mini paradises here, with the quiet euphoria of Lemon Glow, the gentle electronics of Black Car and the Fripp & Eno-like Last Ride. There’s a construct to 7 that feels like an escape device: somewhere that sucks you in and doesn’t spit you back out until the dying seconds of the album turn to silence. Read how Beach House made 7 in our in-depth interview with the band in issue 15 of Long Live Vinyl

Simian Mobile Disco
Murmurations
(Wichita)

On their fifth studio album, SMD’s James Ford and Jas Shaw have collaborated with the Hackney-based vocal collective, the Deep Throat Choir. The result is an album rich in haunting atmospheres and choral vocals that float above the minimal techno flow that skips underneath. The opening Boids is layer upon layer of vocal harmonies, creating a cloud-like texture that feels like an enveloping and welcoming introduction. The electronics join in on the following Caught In A Wave, adding a propulsive skip to the almost Cocteau Twins-like vocals. Across the nine tracks, it works as a heady exploration of ambience, melody and rhythm; something caught halfway between a club and a church record. The tempo and tone remains interlocked in this harmonious state, riding a wave of minimal vocal techno. 

Skating Polly – The Make It All Show

 

Skating Polly
The Make It All Show
(El Camino Media)

Recorded last winter at Seagrass Studio in Los Angeles with producer Brad Wood (Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair), The Make It All Show is the most fully realised work to date from this trio of 17-21 year-olds inspired by the likes of Veruca Salt, X, Babes In Toyland, L7 and The Breeders. Step sisters Kelli and Peyton were joined in the band last year by brother Kurtis after releasing their debut album at the ages of 9 and 14. The trio all swap instruments at their explosive live shows, and you can catch them on tour in the UK in September.

 

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