Words by Ben Bowman.
The Last Shadow Puppets new EP entitled The Dream Synopsis EP was released this morning, with a selection of covers combined with two re-workings of songs from their second album Everything You’ve Come to Expect. Given the fact that we were made to wait eight years for a follow up to their debut, the fact that they have turned around more material so quickly is indeed exciting, but could be Turner and Kane’s last stint together for some time. With rumours fuelling of a sixth Arctic Monkeys record, which could in itself be a long way off, The Dream Synopsis EP places the bookmark in the story of The Shadow Puppets…for now.
The 6 track offering begins with a re-working of Aviation the opening track from Everything You’ve Come To Expect. Although many people may be excited mainly for the covers on this release, this track should not be taken out of the limelight. With re-arranged guitar parts, it offers something different to the initial impression given on the album, but it is not just the subtle guitar switches which arouse the ear. What this EP offers is a real sense of atmosphere, and you get that in every track and it makes you feel as if you are there in the recording booth watching on. You can hear chatter in between tracks, the pastiche roleplaying banter we are used to from the two as Miles quips at the end of this track ‘How was that, Yoko?’.
Aviation is followed up by French track Les Cactus originally by Jacques Dutronc which was released prior to the EP a few weeks ago. The structure of this piece is almost karaoke style turn-taking between the pair as they reverse roles and each step up to the microphone and the energy that was built up in Les Cactus is carried on through with Miles Kane. The former Rascals frontman closes Side A with a frantic rendition of The Fall’s totally Wired. For me, this is the most satisfying thing on this record. The pair have frequently spoken about the influences of the likes of Scott Walker, which has made them more well-rounded songwriters and the fact that they delved into that world of 60s baroque has provided us with two fine records and two fine personalities. However, in an interview with Beats Radio with Zane Lowe, the pair spoke about trying to achieve a sound with their first album and putting that first rather than the songs themselves. Although the elements of production used within The Age of the Understatement has seeped through into whatever has followed, it is great to see them both let loose and not be necessarily confined within that set of records that so greatly inspired them.
Side B begins with another cover, another track performed throughout the tour and a song that you may not know but you will possibly recognise. This is your Life, originally by Glaxo Babies, once again sees Miles Kane take the mic and rip through another track. It is fair to say that Kane has one of the most distinct voices in music and that is evident on this track. The fact that this opens the second side of the record is almost like when in football your team just get on top of the opposition as half time is approaching, it belongs on the same side as Totally Wired, perhaps they thought we might need the break. Turner then takes over and croons on Is this what you Wanted, released before the passing of Leonard Cohen, but acts as a sufficient tribute.
The EP comes to a climax with another reworking, this time of The Dream Synopsis. Once again, Turner takes on the lead role and purrs through an elegant re-imagination of the track which is just the perfect amount of self-indulgence, especially when accompanied by saxophone.
Despite missing the cover of David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream, which many people hoped would be transferred into a recorded format; The Dream Synopsis EP is well executed and showcases their versatility with an array of styles and layers.
Article written by Ben Bowman, you can follow him on Twitter here.