Monday, 16 May 2011


SUBMARINE –Original Soundtrack
Alex Turner
Domino Records

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The way you can look back over a group of bands or artists that were considered “ok” with the passage of time are elevated onto the level of “genius” with either early death or simply by making an album that sold about 5 copies and shifted them into the “cult” artist arena.

Appreciating greatness as it happens is something that doesn’t happen much and a bona fide classic album definitely doesn’t appear much. Magazines use words and phrases like “instant classic” a little too easily and although in some cases they have been on the money some bands that achieve this status won’t be remembered in the end of year run downs let alone in 30.

“Submarine” the original soundtrack to the film by Richard Ayoade is written and performed by Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys/The Last Shadow Puppets) is in my opinion a genuine classic, chipped diamond straight from the pen of a heavyweight. It’s not a long drawn out double album or progressive rock opera with pretensions of a running theme but it definitely has a “feel” and “mood” about it. With only 6 tracks in total (and one of them being an ‘intro’ to a later song) it isn’t something that you need to get stuck into or live with for a while, you’ll either get it straight away or you won’t. The song writing is of a very high level and I would say Turner is in a definite creative peak as far as his lyrics go as well as musically (in interviews recently he has described himself as “discovering the other three strings” on the guitar) I would agree with this sentiment and the finger picked melodies on songs like ‘It’s Hard to Get Around The Wind’ show a maturity from the usual power chords or some of his early work although looking at his songwriting progress from the earliest singles to a more recent track like 'Cornerstone' from the Humbug album you can definitely see a continuum.

The soundtrack as a whole fits the movie perfectly and with the South Wales backdrop and beautiful scenery and sunsets captured. Although tracks are sparse in their arrangements, 2 in particular add other ingredients to the mix including drums, bass and echoing guitar (thanks to ex-Coral wunderkind Bill Ryder-Jones.)

The tracks getting the most attention today and yesterday would have to be the last two, ‘Stuck On A Puzzle’ and ‘Piledriver Waltz’ which I have recently found out will be re-recorded for the upcoming Arctic Monkeys album because frankly a song that good can’t be left on a soundtrack album and possibly be forgotten.

In conclusion this small, delicate and quiet album is a musical shot across the bow to other bands and artists out there to pick up their guitars and pens once again and actually try and write a song with some feeling and narrative rather than simply pushing 5 buttons and filtering it through computer recording programmes in a blind quest for boundary pushing and inventiveness.

Instant Klassic is gonna get ya.

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