“We’ve been the Long-Winded Explanations,” offered the Last Shadow Puppets by way of jokey farewell from this early date on their live touring return after eight long years away.
The Last Shadow Puppets | Usher Hall, Edinburgh | Rating ***
Trailing the imminent release of their second album, Everything You’ve Come to Expect, the follow-up to 2008’s The Age of the Understatement, it belies its title with a selection of knowing experiments in genre which counterpoint its creators Alex Turner and Miles Kane’s simple, direct indie-pop songwriting in Arctic Monkeys and the Rascals, respectively.
The duo and their band, cast against a simple, blood-red backdrop, pleasingly didn’t play to type throughout the show, but nor did they seem entirely focused on giving their audience what they wanted. There was indeed a certain long-windedness, and a lack of live urgency which lent the suspicion the new record might be better enjoyed within the privacy of the listener’s own headphones.
The first album was a pleasing change of pace for its template of relaxed, lush lounge lizard ballads, and it’s these early songs which caught the attention once more here; such as the purposeful gallop of Only the Truth, the subtle bossa nova swing of Meeting Place or the easy, alluringly symphonic appeal of My Mistakes Were Made For You.
Next to these, the new material served more to cement the gaps between the highlights of the show than to grab the audience’s attention with renewed communal appeal. Songs like Miracle Aligner, The Dream Synopsis and the new record’s title track are woozy, languid affairs, lent greater power only when Turner was on lead and the distinctively confident Sheffield buzz in his baritone rang through. A note-perfect cover of the Beatles’ I Want You (She’s So Heavy) with Kane on lead was alone in being both highly enjoyable and a new experiment from this band.