It’s happening. It’s real.
This is not a drill or a dream, and Arctic Monkeys will return with a new album on May 11.
We don’t know much more; but here’s what we do, and what we speculate.
1. It’s called Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino.
It’s hard to add to a title like that. Really — it’s probably the coolest thing since – well, the ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ riff.
What does it mean? Our guess is as good as anyone’s, but Tranquility Base was the name given to the spot where humans first walked the moon.
The teaser clip, which heralded the album’s imminence, features a retro model of something akin to a lunar motel, complete with spinning sky sign. The same image appears on the album artwork.
The title recalls ambitious, figurative, location-based records such as Kasabian’s West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum and Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach. Is this Alex Turner’s concept album?
2. The songs have strange names.
‘The Ultracheese’, ‘The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip’, ‘Batphone’, ‘Golden Trunks’.
Again — there’s not much to add, until we have some lyrics. The synthesised strings and fuzz-drenched bluesy riff of the announcement clip give nothing away.
AM asked ‘Why’d You Only Ever Call Me When You’re High?’. Perhaps Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino responds by just getting high itself.
Fans read ‘No. 1 Party Anthem’ upon the last record’s announcement and wondered if the Arctics had delved into EDM. Thankfully, it was in fact the slowest, most ballady song on AM. Assume nothing.
3. It could feature a lot of guests.
A press release didn’t give much away either, other than the vague assurance that the album “finds the band intent on continuing to explore new musical terrain”.
However, a listing on German music retail site vinyl-digital.com seems to reveal the appearance of James Righton of Klaxons, and Tame Impala bassist Cam Avery.
The latter hints at psychedelia in keeping with the artwork and tracklist, while it will be interesting to see how Avery contrasts the increasingly heavy bass-lines of Nick O’Malley.
With Turner still fresh from The Last Shadow Puppets’ latest work, a cameo from his best mate and fellow Puppet Miles Kane seems unlikely.
Don’t bet against Josh Homme throwing in a lick or two again though — the Queens of the Stone Age guitarist has been involved with every album since 2009’s Humbug.
4. Scotland will hear it live before the rest of the UK.
At the time of Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino’s announcement and of writing, the only scheduled Arctic Monkeys UK tour date is at TRNSMT festival, in Glasgow this summer.
Dates in North America and Europe will follow the album’s release, but it remains to be seen when a full UK stint in support of the release will materialise.
Scottish music fans could be in for a treat if the record lives up to the already stupendous hype.
5. Alex Turner still has a beard.
Just in case you were wondering.
This photo accompanied the latest press release.
On May 11, we check-in to Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino.