Arctic Monkeys haven’t really been hitting the promotional trail behind Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, their loungey, free-wandering new album. Instead, the band decided to keep things mysterious, releasing no advance singles and keeping the world in the dark as to how the new album might sound. But last night, the album finally came out. And not coincidentally, last night is also when the promo tour began in earnest, as the band appeared as musical guests on The Tonight Show.
On the show, the band performed “Four Out Of Five,” probably the most immediate track on a not-particularly-immediate album. They filled the band’s ranks out with a whole lot of extra musicians — more guitarists, more synth players, more dreamy-eyed longhairs who looked like Laurel Canyon session musicians from the early ’70s. And frontman Alex Turner essentially played his new self-aware crooner character — brown suit, orange-tinted sunglasses, open white shirt, goatee.
Turner also played while seated behind a guitar, making a curious decision to hide his own foxiness for much of the song. And indeed, the most exciting moment of the performance came at the end, when Turner rose from behind the keyboard in the age-old Jesus Christ pose. So: What did you think? Intriguing new wrinkle in a hall-of-fame career, or self-indulgent miscalculation? Or both? Watch the performance below.
Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is out 5/11 on Domino.