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Alex Turner | SUBMARINE

Has it really been five years since the Arctic Monkeys released their debut album? Time certainly does fly. In 2006, Alex Turner would masticate his lyrics and spit them out with venom. Today, all he simply wants to do is to croon. It’s amazing how his lyrics reminded us of an angry Paul Weller then, but now, he reminds us of a young Donovan.

So Submarine is his first solo project and is a companion soundtrack to Richard Ayoade’s (The IT Crowd) debut feature film. The first four tracks are entirely acoustic and he plays alone most of the time. Hiding Tonight and Glass In The Park are very stark in their arrangements, but Turner pulls it off with great aplomb and intelligence. In an interview, he mentioned about using the Harold and Maude soundtrack as a big influence on the style and movement of this record and there are times when Cat Stevens’ role on that OST comes to mind. The guitar work is gentle and melodic, whilst his singing is effortlessly hypnotic and stronger than ever before. Critics used to mention his uncanny ability to twist or bend his words to great effect, but his style on Submarine never draws attention to itself. It’s a really calm and laid back record. If a lyric hits you, it will only do so on the third or fourth listen.

Alex Turner performing live

The best lyric of all can be found on the track Piledriver, a song reminiscent of John Lennon’s work from the early 1970s. – “If you’re going to walk on water, make sure you wear comfortable shoes”. It’s a world away from his early days. Turner is now confident in everything he touches from his arrangements to his lyrics to simply playing music without his band mates.

Like the movie whose plot revolves around a boy coming to maturity, Submarine sees Alex Turner turning into one of the UK’s best singer-songwriters who has in 6 years done more than many rock stars have done in a lifetime.

– Kieven Yim

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