With the mainstream success of AM topping the charts and occupying radio stations everywhere, it's likely that you've heard the name Alex Turner once or twice, especially in association with Arctic Monkeys. But for Turner, being the frontman of just one successful band isn't enough. Introducing The Last Shadow Puppets, Turner's outlet for his more abstract and artistic musical ventures. However, with this group, he willingly shares center stage.
The other half of this dynamic duo is Turner's best and oldest friend Miles Kane, ex-frontman of the now-disbanded mystic rock group, The Rascals. He has since found more longevity and success with his solo career, but is arguably at his best with Turner by his side. The two have supported each others' separate musical ventures from the start, making guest appearances on recordings and at live gigs, though each pursues different styles and goals. Between this and life at large, The Last Shadow Puppets have only had the opportunity to surface in two short-lived bouts of action, built around the release of their two albums. The first, The Age of the Understatement, graced 2008 with fast-paced harmonies and a psychedelic cowboy vibe with influences drawn from Scott Walker and Lee Hazelwood. Eight years came and went before the stars aligned to clear an opportunity for the production and release of Everything You've Come to Expect, their 2016 summer chart-topper. Now at the tail end of their tour, fans are frothing for a third installment, and to see more of Turner's and Kane's incredible chemistry on stage.
When the Puppets do convene, they enlist the help of dozens of friends to produce the rich, symphonic sound that dominates both albums. Some of the notable contributors include Arctic Monkeys producer James Ford on drums, bringing a whisper of jazz fusion to the table, and Arcade Fire collaborator Owen Pallett scoring the string section. Each album is a largely collaborative effort, executed under Kane and Turner's shared vision. As a partnership, they mesh and blend so seamlessly that it is difficult to tell one from the other, especially with their indisputably fashion forward knack for sporting matching outfits.
Their extraordinary friendship enriches their work in ways only an extraordinary friendship can. They expand each others' horizons without judgement, inspire the organic live interactions that their fans adore, and inject a high-stress industry with endless laughter. Oh yeah, and they make great records together. Kane and Turner are better artists because of their experience as The Last Shadow Puppets, and the indie-bluesy rock world is made better with The Last Shadow Puppets' contributions. The proof is in the pudding.
Words: Darby Dayton